CATCH ME IF YOU CAN
SUPERCARS series leader Scott McLaughlin, right, scorched around Mount Panorama in a lap record to claim pole position for today’s Bathurst 1000
SCOTT McLaughlin wept tears of joy yesterday after realising his lifelong dream of scoring a Bathurst 1000 pole position with a record-breaking one-lap blitz around Mount Panorama.
With the fastest lap in the history of the famous race, the DJR Team Penske pilot became a Mount Panorama great, scorching his way around the 6.2km track to win a famous Top Ten Shootout with an inch-perfect drive.
Officially claiming “The Lap of the Gods’’ by taking the Mount Panorama record in a Top Ten Shootout, McLaughlin, 24, became the first to beat the magical 2.04 mark.
The Ford flyer burst into tears when he crossed the line and saw the record time flash up on his dash – a staggering 2min 03.83 sec.
“This is just a dream come true,’’ McLaughlin said. “I have been dreaming about this since I was kid. Wow.’’
After what Bathurst immortal Mark Skaife described as a life-changing moment, McLaughlin fist punched the air after launching himself on top of the Pit Straight wall.
“Oh my god,’’ McLaughlin said. “I am just over the moon. This is just crazy. I knew we could do that. I knew we could do those times.’’
The wild celebration spread inside the DJR/Team Penske garage among the team that had engineered Bathurst’s fastest-ever car.
Even second fastest Dave Reynolds applauded the history-making lap after continuing his red-hot form to book a front row start.
“They have been super-fast all weekend and that lap was something special,” the Erebus Holden driver said.
The wall-brushing one-lap blitz began with Garth Tander going out first, clocking a 2:05.32 to show the track was still potentially record-breaking fast.
“We didn’t get a chance to rehearse for this in practice,’’ Tander said.
“But the guys did a great job setting it up for the shootout. The car was really nice and I am happy with that lap.’’
Ford veteran Jason Bright went better on the very next blast but Holden hero James Courtney made a minor mis- take to put himself out of contention for a giant-killing Bathurst pole.
In his eighth Mount Panorama Top Ten Shootout, series champion Shane Van Gisbergen went fastest in the first sector to announce his Mount Panorama intent.
The Red Bull racer continued to fly and recorded a 2:04.66 to set the benchmark.
Fabian Coulthard threatened to fence his Falcon coming into the cutting with a top-ofthe-mountain slide that had hearts in mouths.
The DJR Team Penske pilot recovered to bank a 2:04.96 and give himself a solid 1000km race shot.
Ford favourite Mark Win- terbottom then blasted his way to provisional pole with a near perfect lap.
Winterbottom’s Prodrive Racing Australia teammate Cam Waters couldn’t top Frosty’s time. And neither could fellow PRA flyer Chaz Mostert, the former Bathurst winner failing to match Winterbottom by just a tenth.
TOP SHOT: Scott McLaughlin celebrates claiming pole position for today’s Bathurst 1000.