After a solid start to the condensed 2020 MotorsportSales Queensland Production Car Championship season, the team at Gerry Murphy Racing is now gearing up for its biggest challenge of the season thus far – the Ultimate Diesel Tuning 300, under the lights at Queensland Raceway, this Saturday Night.
Murphy currently sits seventh in the outright standings, and is the clear leader in Class B2, in the Holden Commodore VF SSV Craig Lowndes Special.
Whatever happens this weekend, Murphy will still be the leader in Class B2, as he is the only Class B2 entry, in the 32-car field that will contest Saturday night’s 96-lap race.
Without having to worry about a class result, Murphy’s attention turns to the outright fight, and it’s important to remember that his name sits on the 300 Honour Roll, after he won the 2017 Lakeside 300, alongside his long-time co-driver, and friend, Jim Pollicina.
With Jim unable to compete in the 2020 Willowbank 300, due to ongoing border politics, Murphy was forced to find a new partner in crime, and who better than his driving coach, Steven Robinson.
‘Robbo’ as he’s affectionately known, is the head driver coach at Paul Morris’ Norwell Motorsport Complex, and has been part of the furniture there for over a decade.
He spends five days a week coaching drivers, from junior karting ranks, all the way through to the cream of the crop in Australian Motorsport, at the Gold Coast facility, and he’s had his co-driver under his wing in recent times as well.
Murphy says he’s driving as good as he ever has, and that’s testament to what he’s been learning at the Norwell venue.
This weekend, Robinson lines up in his first Willowbank 300, as he returns to the paperclip, for the first time in twelve years.
A former V8 Ute racer, Robbo hasn’t driven competitively in a decade, so this weekend provides him with a wonderful opportunity to dust off the old race boots.
He’s most looking forward to getting the competitive fire back in the belly, but also driving a different car, on a different circuit.
That said, Robinson has no expectations on where the duo may finish after 96 laps, stressing that he’s there for fun, and “where they land, is where they land”.
The most challenging aspect of this weekend, for Robinson at least, comes up on Friday, as the evening practice session will be the first time he jumps behind the wheel of the VF SSV Redline Commodore… in fact he won’t even see the vehicle before he arrives trackside.
This will be a strong combination. Murphy’s 300 experience, coupled with Robinson’s overall driving experience, puts them in good stead, for the 96-lap race on Saturday night – the first Willowbank 300 to be contested under lights.
What won’t be proven until the meeting is underway, is if Murphy has been successfully in continuing his tradition, of engaging the services of a driver that is faster than he is.
The action commences with Friday night practice, from 6:30pm local time, ahead of the warm-up at 8am on Saturday morning, before Qualifying and the top-ten shootout will be conducted during the day, ahead of the Ultimate Diesel Tuning 300, which is scheduled to begin at around 6:55pm AEDST.
You can track the progress of the GMR squad, by liking their Facebook page, or by following all the action through Natsoft’s live timing service.