Castrol Edge Racing's Greg Murphy believes he has his best chance of success on home soil with this week’s ITM 400 in Hamilton
It has been five years since the Kiwi driver’s last win, which came at Pukekohe in 2005, the venue used for seven years before the series switched to the Hamilton street circuit in 2008.
Murphy dominated the Pukekohe event in its early years, winning four times in five years, including three in a row from 2001-03.
“It’s hard to believe it’s been five years, 2005 is a bloody long time ago – it’s hard to comprehend that big a gap between winning races,” Murphy said.
“Winning in front of a New Zealand crowd was one of the best things that ever happened to me in my V8 Supercar career and I couldn’t hope for any more than that [again], it would just be unbelievable.”
Since ‘05, Murphy has struggled due to being in uncompetitive situations, but his move this year to the Queensland-based Paul Morris Motorsports and the recent debut of his new Triple Eight Race Engineering-designed Castrol Commodore has the now 37 year old feeling like the ‘Murph’ of old.
“This is the most competitive package I’ve had in years by a long stretch and I’m very, very happy,” he said.
“The past four years we’ve had question marks on the cars and I never managed to get them to where they needed to be to get to the front of the field.
“With my new Castrol EDGE Commodore and the support of the PMM team I don’t have to worry about the equipment, which means the focus is on me just doing my job properly and completing the task.
“I can’t blame the vehicle for not being up to scratch and I feel that I’m in a pretty good position – so I’m very comfortable and relaxed about this weekend.”
Murphy said he held lofty ambitions for the ITM 400.
“We’re aiming for the podium, we’re aiming for the win – it will be hard to do, but it’s realistic,” he said.
“It’s not going to be easy with the competition that we’ve got – there’s some guys like [Garth] Tander and [Shane] van Gisbergen in very good form at the moment, and they’ll be confident – but that’s what we’ve got our sights set on. I just can’t make any mistakes.”
Practice for the ITM 400 begins on Friday, with two 200km, 59 lap races – Races 7 and 8 of the 2010 V8 Supercar Championship – run on Saturday and Sunday.