Kiwi star Greg Murphy has given a glowing appraisal of his New Zealand V8 SuperTourer racer at his first full day of testing at Hampton Down south of Auckland.
Murphy had previously driven a prototype version of the all-new Kiwi tourer, but getting behind the wheel of the Mike Pero-backed M3 Racing Commodore had the four-time Bathurst winner smiling from ear to ear.
Although it was just a shakedown test, Murphy and a group of other drivers that included team-mates Paul Manuell and Richard Moore, as well as Andy Booth and Andre Heimgartner of AV8 Motorsport completed a significant number of laps. Teams circulated the track until 7pm local time with Murphy setting the benchmark time of 1:04.3, just .10 quicker than 16 year old Heimgartner.
“We got some good running, ironed out a few little bits and pieces, but the cars, effectively, ran very well and we were able to get stuck into it pretty hard,” said Murphy.
“Too be honest, they felt fantastic. Being new, there is a lot to learn, and the way there rules are, we are going to have to pretty smart about we go about tuning them and finding an advantage.
“I have to say, we are all pretty impressed with how they have come out of the box.”
It will be a busy 2012 for Murphy who will run his Kiwi V8 SuperTourer as well as the Pepsi Max Crew Holden from Kelly Racing in the Australian V8 Supercars Championship. Although Murphy acknowledges the similarities between the two categories of V8 racing, each still has its own characteristics.
“There are some similarities – just in the size of the car. A lot of things on how you drive the car, it’s got a similar feel,” said Murphy.
“They way you attack the corners is quite similar.
“For me, the platform of the car feels different. It has a different feel. It doesn’t seem to have the chassis roll and movement that a V8 Supercar has. It is lighter, it has an 18 inch wheel, so there are some technical differences, and all those will be contributing to having that slightly different feel to how you go into the corners.
“You can obviously tell you’re in a big car, it has a lot of horsepower, and if you weren’t overly experienced, you wouldn’t be able to tell there’s a difference. They are so close in so many respects.”
Testing continues across the country’s circuits, with the category’s first major test set for February 10 at Hampton Downs. All 16 cars will be present and the general public are encouraged to come to the free event.