Kelly Racing's Greg Murphy reacts after claiming pole for the 2011 Bathurst 1000.
Kelly Racing's Greg Murphy reacts after claiming pole for the 2011 Bathurst 1000. MARK HORSEBURGH

Murphy says Mount Panorama needs 'respect'

GREG Murphy spent two decades competing at Bathurst.

He knows first-hand how cruel the mountain can be ... but also what you need to do to win the Great Race.

The Kiwi achieved success in the Bathurst 1000 on four separate occasions.

"You have got to love it,” he told APNZ.

"You have to be drawn in by what the whole meaning of Bathurst is - the aura of it and the legend of it. You have got to respect it.

"You have got to be committed, you have to take some risks. You have to do so many things up there that at a lot of other race tracks you don't think about.”

Drivers on Sunday will complete 161 laps of the famous Mount Panorama circuit, totalling a gruelling 1000km.

"The shape of what the circuit is - it is quite a climb up the mountain,” Murphy said.

"The elevation is unique. It can be raining at the top but perfectly dry down the bottom. The track is fast but it can be very unforgiving in certain places. You have to put all of that together.

"It is one of those places where it took a couple of years but once I gelled with it and understood it and learned the critical areas that made a difference I couldn't get enough of it.

"It was a place that always challenged and I always wanted to be challenged by it.

"Having good cars and teams are always a big part of it. To gain confidence around Bathurst you have to have the right equipment, the right people and that sort of stuff.”

Driving various models of Commodore, Murphy won the race in 1996, then with a fresh-faced Craig Lowndes, in 1999 with Steven Richards, and in 2003 and 2004 with Rick Kelly.

"I was lucky very early on to have all of those things provided so you built confidence,” Murphy said.

"Once you build that and you feel comfortable and you know what the limits are and you have a few moments that scare you and make you think about it and you recover from them and carry on, that just prepares you for days that aren't so good.

"You can manage those better then.

"It comes down to the first few times you run there to prepare you. I was fortunate to have all of that.

"I have seen guys go there many times without ever having a decent performance or look like they are at one with the race track.

"Then there are guys that go there the first time and are at home straight away.

"It is a fascinating place and one that will continue to deliver the most unbelievable races and results for many years to come.”

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