Three different co-drivers for Murphy

Greg Murphy in his #51 Castrol EDGE Commodore VE at Townsville

Greg Murphy in his #51 Castrol EDGE Commodore VE at Townsville

Castrol EDGE Racing’s Greg Murphy will have three different co-drivers for each of this year’s V8 Supercars endurance races.

Tim Blanchard, Allan Simonsen and Yvan Muller will partner the four-time Bathurst 1000 winner at the L&H 500 at Phillip Island, the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 and the Armor All Gold Coast 600 respectively.

Stand-out Fujitsu V8 Series rookie Blanchard, 23, will make his V8 ‘Main Game’ debut at the L&H 500. The 2007 Australian Formula Ford Championship winner said that he he was surprised to get the nod.

“I was surprised when Paul [Morris] gave me the call, but very happy too,” Blanchard said.

“Driving the Castrol EDGE Commodore with Greg Murphy is a great opportunity for me, but I can’t carried away.

“My job at Phillip Island will be quite clear, get up to speed, do the middle stint of the race, stay on the lead lap, and hand the car back to Murph without any scratches.”

Simonsen is almost considered a Bathurst expert these days and will join Murphy in the year’s biggest race – the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.

The 32-year-old has a lot of worldly experience, including in touring cars, production cars and sports cars. With six Bathurst starts to his name, he has a best result of fifth partnering Richard Lyons with Triple Eight in 2007.

Simonsen has an existing commitment clash, leaving him out of the running for Phillip Island, but Murphy says he is the perfect partner to have for The Great Race.

“Allan is a great partner to have for Bathurst,” said Murphy.

“He’s got a lot of experience at the mountain, he has finished top five there in the past and he’s a driver we can trust – he will do a great job.”

Frenchman Muller, 40, will co-drive with Murphy at the star-studded Armor All Gold Coast 600 two weeks after Bathurst.

The Chevrolet World Touring Car driver is no stranger to V8 Supercars having contested the annual enduros for the Holden Racing Team (2000), finishing 10th with Jason Plato in the sodden race. He is also the last non-regular driver to have won a round of the V8 Supercars Championship Series, pairing up with Craig Lowndes to win the 2005 Sandown 500.

“Yvan’s record speaks for itself,” Murphy says.

“He’s a World Touring Car Champion, a British Touring Car Champion, he’s won in a V8 Supercar, and he puts our team in a very good position for the Gold Coast.”

Team owner Paul Morris will partner Russell Ingall in the second car out of the Paul Morris Motorsports stable, the Supercheap Auto Racing Commodore VE.

The L&H 500 at Phillip Island will be held on September 10-12. The Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, takes place at Mount Panorama on October 7-10, and the Armor All Gold Coast 600 on the streets of Surfers Paradise on October 22-24.

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