Last weekend, the 2017 Bathurst 1000 was held at its traditional gauntlet in Bathurst, New South Wales, on the Mount Panorama Circuit. Narrow, fast, and with more elevation change than some entire countries, Mount Panorama is among the trickiest of tracks in the world to get just right, as the faster you go, the closer you find yourself to the looming concrete walls, especially at the top of the mountain. The prestige of mastering the mountain is enough to give every driver who races on it the courage to grab their car by the scruff of the neck in the hopes of landing themselves on pole.
In the race's qualifying shootout, a high-stakes one lap affair in which the race's top ten qualifiers compete to secure the highest grid position possible, Scott McLaughlin of DJR Team Penske, driving his Ford FG X Falcon, took pole position with a lap that mirrors the infamous "Lap of the Gods" set by Greg Murphy in 2003.
McLaughlin's lap, a 2:03.831, beats the previous V8 Supercars record, a 2:06.371, set by David Reynolds in 2014, by more than 2.5 seconds. It does not beat the track's outright race lap record, a 2:01.567, set by Shane van Gisbergen during 2016's running of the 12 Hours of Bathurst in a McLaren 650S GT3. A faster lap still was set by Jenson Button in 2011 during a promotional stunt for the Australian Grand Prix, where he drove a McLaren MP4-23 to a time of 1:48.88, though it is not considered the lap record, having not occurred as part of a race weekend.
The fact that McLaughlin was able to get within the same qualifying time neighborhood as the GT3 cars from the year the record was set speaks for itself, as his time would have been adequate to place him ahead of an Erebus Motorsport Mercedes SLS AMG GT3, had they competed together. It just goes to show that in V8 Supercars, what you drive doesn't matter: it's still about how you drive it.