Kiwi V8 race driver Greg ‘Murph’ Murphy was impressed by the new V8SuperTourer after completing a full test session in the prototype of the car at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park last Friday (27 May).
“This was my first drive in the new car and it’s great! We’re definitely on the right track having a prototype for testing and we’re also on the right track with where this prototype will take us with the finished race cars when they get to New Zealand later in the year,” said the Melbourne-based wheelman.
“There are so many similarities to a V8 Supercar, but the V8SuperTourer is lighter. It’s got plenty of power; the chassis is great; it looks great and sounds great. The whole project is very exciting. There’s a little work to do, but the race car is a nice, simple, solid package. Everyone who has driven the car today is smiling – they just love it.”
Murphy officially confirmed on Friday that he would drive in the V8SuperTourer series when it kicks off in February next year, subject to there being no date clashes with his other racing commitments in V8Supercars in Australia. “It’s my intention to be on the starting grid in a VE Holden V8SuperTourer,” says Murphy.
There were wet on-track conditions last Friday but Murphy completed a solid test session as engineers monitored the car’s performance around the 2.8km Hampton Downs circuit.
After Murphy had put the car through its paces, two other confirmed V8SuperTourer drivers: Andy Booth and Paul Manuell had a crack. Like the other confirmed V8SuperTourer competitor, John McIntyre, Booth and Manuell have won the New Zealand V8 touring car championship in recent years.
Another ex NZ V8 champion Kayne Scott, also attended the test session and enjoyed the opportunity for a few laps in the new car. A total of 57 trouble-free laps were completed with the four drivers.
Sixteen V8SuperTourers are being built this year with 15 of this initial run already sold. The purpose-built race cars are all mechanically identical, running the same all-alloy 7-litre engine which produces around 550hp. The monocoque chassis is built to accommodate both the current Holden Commodore VE and Ford Falcon FG bodies, as well as other similar-sized four-dour production vehicles.
Murphy, Booth and Manuell are confirmed to start in the VE Commodore V8SuperTourer, while McIntyre has bought two FG Falcon versions of the V8SuperTourers and will drive one himself. The second McIntyre Racing car will be driven by a second driver who hasn’t been announced.
The new V8SuperTourers commence their inaugural seven round race series at Hampton Downs over the weekend of 17 to 19 February 2012.
Photo Credit: Geoff Ridder