Greg Murphy is not going to let his big crash at Bathurst affect his performance in the BNT V8 SuperTourers championship endurance race at Hampton Downs this weekend.
The Kiwi V8 hero had been running in the top five last Sunday in the celebrated Bathurst 1000km race for V8 Supercars, co-driving with former champion James Courtney for the Holden Racing Team, when his car slammed into a wall at 135kmh, suffering extensive damage.
But Murphy said he was not even bruised and was feeling positive for the Hampton Downs 400 where he aims to increase his lead in the BNT V8 SuperTourers championship, feature category of the Hankook Super Series.
“We’ll just get in and do the job and go from there,” he said. “Our expectation is pretty high on where we’re going to be but I’ve no doubt that she’ll be close.”
With 15 of the drivers at Bathurst competing at Hampton Downs, the competition is certainly going to be fierce.
Two more Australian Supercar drivers are joining the top Kiwi series to co-drive with Auckland racers. Nick Percat, who won Bathurst with Garth Tander in 2011, joins Mitch Cunningham and Tony D’Alberto will partner Paul Manuell. Murphy’s co-driver for the Kiwi endurance events is Australian Jack Perkins.
Always honest about his own performance, Murphy accepts responsibility for the Bathurst crash and refuses to blame the very difficult conditions – the wind was gusting strong enough to push the cars around, and it was also making the track slippery by blowing dust onto it.
“Evidence leads to just making a small error on the approach,” he said. “It might not have been an error on another day but on that day with those conditions it looks like I turned in just a fraction too fast.
“I’m obviously bloody disappointed and more so angry with myself for letting it happen.”
Murphy’s lead in the BNT V8 SuperTourers championship was reduced at the previous round, also at Hampton Downs, when a gearbox failure forced his Holden out of one of the legs of the endurance event.
“We know what went wrong, we did get to the bottom of it and it was nothing to do with us or the team or anything we were doing,” he said. “It was unfortunately a manufacturer problem. It was incredibly costly, financially and as far as racing goes.”
That allowed rising Hamilton driver Ant Pedersen to close the gap to 74 points with Aucklander Shane Van Gisbergen a further 64 points behind, these two both in Fords. Pedersen’s co-driver is Chaz Mostert and Van Gisbergen’s is Alex Davison, and of these four all except Pedersen are full-time Supercar drivers.
Defending champion Scott McLaughlin is overdue for a change of luck this weekend. The 20-year-old Kiwi, who has won three V8 Supercar races in his debut season in the top category, is only eighth in the championship after a terrible run of bad luck, including several collisions in which he was the innocent victim.
McLaughlin’s co-driver is fellow Supercar driver Jono Webb.
This weekend’s programme consists of qualifying and one 100km race on Saturday and two 150km races on Sunday. In each race each car must make a pit stop to change drivers.
This is the penultimate round of the championship, which will conclude with the Pukekohe 500 on November 29-December 1.
For further comment please contact Bernard Carpinter on 0274-528-744 or Mike Marsden on 021-560-075