Greg Murphy will step behind the wheel of a V8 Supercars for the first time since his back operation at Sydney Motorsport Park today.
The four-time Bathurst 1000 winner will drive his #51 Pepsi Max Crew Commodore VE in Kelly Racing’s ride day today, sharing seat time with his Sandown and Bathurst endurance partner Owen Kelly.
Murphy has not driven a V8 Supercar since the Phillip Island 300 in May after having back surgery to correct an injury sustained in the opening event at the Clipsal 500.
Over the past three months, Murphy has been replaced by David Russell (Darwin) and Jacques Villeneuve (Townsville, Queensland Raceway and Eastern Creek).
The ride day will be followed by Kelly Racing’s pre-Sandown test, to be held at Winton on September 3.
Murphy says that the ride day is the ideal way for him to get back into the driver’s seat ahead of his return to full-time competition at Sandown..
“It’s not a bad way for me to ease back into it,” he told Speedcafe.com.
“There’s quite a lot of rides to do today, and Owen (Kelly) is going to be there, so that will relieve some of the strain of myself getting back in.
“I’m looking forward to getting the seat back in position after Jacques has been doing his thing.
“There’s a fair few cars doing the ride days, so it will kind of feel like a race meeting.”
While Murphy is able to complete both the ride and test day, he says that “doctors orders” have kept him out of his regular New Zealand V8 SuperTourer role at Taupo this weekend.
“It’s just a time thing. The surgeon is adamant, and I’m not doubting his experience, that it’s a three month time period from the operation to getting back into competition,” Murphy said, who will be replaced by Nick Cassidy.
“Even though Taupo is close to that point, it’s inside the three month mark, so I’m doing exactly what the surgeon says so I can have that peace of mind and get on with it.
“Competition versus a few rides and testing is quite different. There’s just that extra bit of risk. That’s why I can do some laps today.”