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'Exciting times': Supercars' Taupō sellout no shock to Kiwi legend

Eric Thompson,
Publish Date
Sun, 14 Apr 2024, 4:31pm
Will Brown leads Broc Feeney in Melbourne. Photo / Photosport
Will Brown leads Broc Feeney in Melbourne. Photo / Photosport

'Exciting times': Supercars' Taupō sellout no shock to Kiwi legend

Eric Thompson,
Publish Date
Sun, 14 Apr 2024, 4:31pm

The fact the inaugural Supercars round in Taupō has sold out on Saturday and Sunday is no shock to former driver Greg Murphy.

“I’m not really surprised by that at all,” Murphy said. “We’ve had a bit of a hiatus since the last event at Pukekohe in 2022, which came as a bit of a shock to everyone.

“There is such a big following and we have a wonderful fan patronage, and it just goes to show how popular Supercars is for a lot of people - exciting times.”

Fellow tin top racing star and two-time world touring car champion Paul Radisich is also rapt to see Supercars back on this side of the Tasman.

“It’s amazing that both days are sold out,” Radisich said. “It’s great to have Supercars back, and for the fans, it will be brilliant. It goes to show how much Supercars has been missed here in New Zealand.”

Both former Supercars drivers have similar thoughts on how the Taupō track may influence this weekend’s races.

Tyre degradation and the ability to pass will be issues. The track may look a little small and tight but is quite long at 3.3km, and there will be places to pass, albeit a driver will have to be confident in his car.

“Taupo will be fantastic, and since Tony Quinn’s purchase of the circuit, there has been continuing improvements,” Murphy said.

“It’s epic having Supercars turning up at yet another New Zealand circuit. The track has some interesting sections and two Supercars racing side by side is going to look pretty cool. We’re going to see some great racing, and tyre degradation will be an interesting factor.”

Radisich is looking forward to seeing how the racing pans out on a track where no team has any previous data to help with car set-up.

“It’s going to be hard to pass and the track is very abrasive,” Radisich said. “Depending on which tyres they’re using, the races could be a war of attrition and should create some good racing.

“A lot is going to be how long the tyres will last and if the category is going to allocate different compounds.

“A good place to watch will be at the end of the straight, as it’s very fast in [to the corner] and drivers will be side-by-side fighting for position. It will be great watching there, and as the race goes on, it will get more interesting at that corner.”

New Zealand has a long legacy in the Australian big-banger category going back to ‘Gentleman’ Jim Richards, who passed on the torch to Murphy, Radisich and Fabian Coulthard, who in turn supported Shane van Gisbergen and Scott McLaughlin.

The current crop of Kiwis sees Andre Heimgartner, Matthew Payne, Richie Stanaway, Ryan Wood and Jaxon Evans on the grid.

“There’s so much young talent coming through,” Murphy said. “I’m 100 per cent confident New Zealand drivers will be in the future of Supercars.

“So we have a number of good reasons to keep following and supporting the category. The guys in the championship have a lot of years to go yet.”

This article was originally published on the NZ Herald here. 

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