HE has been sidelined due to two operations, he admits his Pepsi Max Commodore has not had the pace of the leading V8 Supercars series contenders, but don’t doubt for one moment that Greg Murphy will arrive at Mount Panorama this week short on confidence.
Murphy is a man who knows how to overcome the odds and get on the Bathurst podium no matter how his season has played out before the Great Race.
He did so last year when claiming pole position then placing third with Allan Simonsen.
Of this year’s field only Craig Lowndes has more Bathurst 1000 crowns to his credit, so Murphy can not wait to get his chance to turn his 2012 fortunes around at Mount Panorama.
He currently sits 28th in the championship due to missing so many races, Murphy having undergone two operations on his back to fuse his vertebrae following a high speed crash with Jonathon Webb during practice at Clipsal. The New Zealand product is rated a $51 chance to win this year’s Bathurst 1000.
“I know I haven’t got the form leading into it and I know I have missed a far few races this season, but I don’t have any issues confidence wise going to Bathurst,” Murphy said.
“I don’t have any problems putting it all on the line and I will give it everything I can.
“It is all about pushing the envelop, pushing on every lap, pushing on every corner and doing it for six or seven hours.
“I have done well at Bathurst [when not doing well in the championship], I don’t know why that it is but it has happened before and I just love the place, I can’t wait.”
Murphy’s first win in the Bathurst 1000 back in 1996 came alongside one of this year’s favourites Craig Lowndes while it is a man who will steer one of Ford’s big 2012 Great Race hopes – Steve Richards – who partnered him when he won in 1999.
His most recent successes were back-to-back wins with Rick Kelly in 2003 and 2004, while Murphy also boasts a second placing and three thirds from his 19 Bathurst starts.
But even with his impressive Bathurst record, Murphy finds it hard to explain just what it feels like to get the chequered flag at Mount Panorama.
“It is hard to explain, you would have seen over the weekend with the two big football codes having grand finals and all the players after the match don’t know what to say, they struggle to put it into words,” he said.
“You can use all the expletives and cliches out there and you still can’t describe that elation. All the team and the crew that win will get that feeling.
“Some have felt it before, some have never felt it and hopefully we don’t have one of the teams that have been dominating the championship win it this year, hopefully it is someone different on the podium because that is good for the sport.”
Murphy will have Owen Kelly as his co-driver this Sunday and the duo will be hoping they avoid the issues they experienced in last month’s Sandown 500 endurance race.
Problems with oil pressure left them several laps down and while they had good car speed by the end of the race, by then it was too late to make any real impact.
While Sunday’s Great Race has 161 laps for the Kelly Racing outfit to make an impact, for Murphy the bid to win the Bathurst 1000 will begin on Thursday.
“I can’t wait for that green light to go and the end of that first lap in the first practice session on Thursday,” Murphy said.
“That first lap on Thursday is always so cool, I can’t wait to get in there and get the car going as quick as I can. You want to work on getting it the best that you can as quick as you can.”
Still, even if Murphy’s car is not on the pace in practice or qualifying and despite his limited time behind the wheel in the 2012 championship, he is still the kind of driver that is hard to dismiss.