Home' V8X Supercar Magazine : Oct Nov 2017 Issue 101 Contents 44
go-to class here for a number of years and there was
quite a good pathway to get there.”
Four-times Bathurst champion and proud Kiwi
Murphy says there’s some good work being done in
New Zealand, but there’s still room for improvement.
“The Toyota Racing Series is an amazing category that
runs over the summer,” he says.
“It hasn’t been around forever and it certainly doesn’t
provide every up-and-coming young Kiwi a chance to go
racing because it’s still expensive. There’s the Toyota 86
Championship, which has started up in the last couple of
seasons and it’s going okay, but hasn’t managed to have
the depth or the numbers in it that Toyota and the rest
of us would hope for. And touring cars has been up and
down and all over the place.”
Murphy says an area of strength has been the will-
ingness of generous benefactors to help propel talented
“There’s always been a lot of people in New Zealand
willing to help financially, with contacts, information
and support,” he says.
“The Ken Smiths of this world were a key behind Scott
Dixon and his group of contributors. Kenny played such
a huge part in Brendon Hartley’s career, giving guidance
and just his ability to pick up the phone and talk to
people. I think it’s a stepping stone that many have been
able to follow and the rewards that have been given by
the drivers that have had that support has been huge.”
Returning to Australia, Murphy says McLaughlin,
Coulthard and van Gisbergen have all managed to find
the right ingredients to success at about the same time.
“Now we’ve got three brilliant Kiwi drivers who’ve all
ended up in three of the best cars,” he says.
“So now they are able to absolutely show their skills
supported by the best teams and, therefore, they are all
at the front of the field. And that’s what it takes.
“It’s not all about being a brilliant driver as we all
know. You’ve got to have the right people and the
right support around you to make sure all your skills
are tuned and that you’re able to extract them to the
absolute maximum. And that’s what we’ve got at the
moment, which for all the Kiwis fans back in New Zea-
land watching and for the likes of me is fantastic for our
In previous interviews about drivers’ Bathurst child-
hood memories, McLaughlin, Coulthard and van
Gisbergen all listed Murphy and his 2003 ‘Lap of the
Gods’ Bathurst qualifying effort as an inspiration when
they took steps in their own racing careers.
“It’s very humbling and I’m proud to have a played a
part in their build-up, their growth, their desire and the
history and memories of what it is all about,” he says.
“The thing is they are going to experience exactly the
same thing because there are kids that are sitting in the
grandstands watching saying, ‘I want to be like him’ and
the kids will remember all these amazing key moments
that these three guys are creating now.”
Murphy still frequents the Supercars paddock as
part of his media duties and has had varying degrees of
contact and input with McLaughlin, Coulthard and van
Gisbergen over the years.
“I’ve probably had more to do with Scott and Fabian
and very little to do with Shane, I guess,” he says.
“Fabian’s story is the one that started the longest ago.
He fell under the Greg Murphy Racing umbrella with
Carrera Cup and my Dad and I gave him his first start
in a Supercar in New Zealand at Pukekohe.
“He also showed incredible speed and form back in
Carrera Cup and it was cool that I played a part as team
manager, so he has been a close friend of mine for a
“Then with Scott, I knew him when he was just a little
junior karter and I’ve had a little bit to do with him over
the years... I also speak to Shane whenever we are at race
meetings. But not so much away from the track.
“They are now in their zone, relishing the opportu-
nity, loving being in those cars and pushing them to the
absolute limit... not everyone in the championship is
capable of doing what they are doing.”
As for the significance of three Kiwis leading a field of
Aussies, Murphy concludes: “I think everyone is prob-
ably just enjoying the fact that there is a bit of a laugh
about it. Maybe it will get more serious if the Kiwis
continue to dominate and there could be a little more
backlash, who knows?
“But maybe that’s going to be part of an increased
rivalry moving forward between the Kiwi and Aussie
guys and that is something the sport can always play
ABOVE: Two Kiwis are
leading the charge for DJR
Team Penske in Supercars.
V8X101 p40-44 Kiwis.indd 44
18/9/17 11:38 am
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