A James Moffatt crash with time expiring on the clock has thrown a curveball in Bathurst 1000 qualifying on Friday night.

Kiwi Scott McLaughlin, who earlier broke the lap record in practice, set the fastest time in the 40-minute qualifying session to book a spot in tomorrow's top 10 shootout. He wasn't able to match his blistering lap from earlier in the day but will be a favourite to grab pole in the shootout.

He is joined in the shootout by fellow Kiwis Shane van Gisbergen and Fabian Coulthard while Sandown 500 winner Richie Stanaway's co-driver Cam Waters is safely in the top 10 as well.

Moffatt made a mistake on the top of the mountain and clipped the wall to force a red flag with 15 seconds remaining in the session and most of the field on their flying lap. It meant anyone on that lap couldn't have their time recognized, catching out a number of drivers including four-time winner Jamie Whincup who will start the race 11th.


Others to make the shootout were David Reynolds, Chaz Mostert, Mark Winterbottom, James Courtney, Jason Bright and Garth Tander.

After playing the role of 'quiet achiever' in the first four practice sessions of the weekend, championship leader McLaughlin delivered a knock-out blow in the fifth session - setting the fastest ever lap of the 6.2-kilometer circuit in Supercars Championship history.

The Kiwi's time, a 2:04.1470, was punctuated by his spectacular theatrics at the 200km/h Skyline where he was regularly able to lift his inside wheels off the ground.

"I'm the deepest I've ever been through there, ridiculously deep, nearly pulling fifth [gear]," he told The Herald.

"You've got to make sure that when it settles, you've got to settle it and make sure you don't lock a brake. It's very easy to do there - it's the most nervous part of the track."

The lap sees the stocks of McLaughlin and his Shell V-Power Racing co-driver Alexandre Premat raise further, as the championship leader prepares for his best shot at the Bathurst 1000 crown. Though the 24-year-old is still cautious of his chances.

"At the end of the day it's Friday; pay day is Sunday. We'll focus on our race car as well as our qualifying car."

Ironically one of the first people to congratulate McLaughlin and dissect his colossal lap was four-time Bathurst 1000 winner and former record holder Greg Murphy.

"It was a bit weird, except I wasn't coming down pit lane backwards and everyone wasn't out the front," laughed McLaughlin, alluding to the storied reaction Murphy's 'Lap of the Gods' conjured 14 years ago.

"It's pretty surreal, and times change, but to have Murph there as a friend is pretty cool. I looked up to him for years as a young bloke. It's a pretty cool thing."

McLaughlin will be seeking redemption for the events of 2016's Great Race, which saw him violently ruled out of contention while leading the race, following a bizarre incident near the end of the race with Whincup and Tander.

"I think everyone's car has gotten better. I think everyone's a lot faster - it's a testament to the category," McLaughlin added. "Everyone develops, everyone makes things better.

"It's not just me that went under the lap record, so it shows that the category's just developing."