This year I made the move back into saloon/GT cars from Single Seaters which I have being racing for the past two seasons very successfully with Morgan Dempsey of MCP.
Part of the reason for the switch back to saloon cars came about because of an opportunity offered to me by Alan Kessie of ASK Racing
, Alan had been planning to bring back the very exciting RT2000 class (now called ASK Supercars) and he asked would I be interested in racing them. As a child my dad brought me to Mondello to see some car racing, the RT2000 cars were the one class that stood out at a young age, so when the opportunity arose I couldn't resist it!
Recently I met Greg Murphy who is the owner of Murphy Prototypes Endurance Racing Team
. We talked over a few different ideas, one of which was to join the team at a race to see how things are done at a much more competitive level. About two weeks ago I got a call from Greg inviting me to Silverstone, I quickly booked the flights and arranged the details with the team manager, Alan McGarrity.
I met Greg and Ciaran, friend and sponsor (Celtic Airspares) at the airport, I could tell it was going to be a fun weekend in Silverstone ahead! We got to the track and went straight to the garage to see the car and I met the team while I was there. They had the car up on the flat patch (a millimetre perfect flat section of floor for setting up suspension alignment) getting it set up for the free practice on Friday.
It was great to see the car on track on Friday as I had never seen LMP2 cars in the metal before, they were so quick it was unbelievable, I never imagined they'd be that quick for the size of them! I was in the garage during testing with a headset on listening to what was going on during the session. When they did a tyre change I would help clear all the pick-up (excess rubber) off the tyres. I also washed all the wheel rims to have them ready for the next set of new Dunlop tyres.
The team qualified fifth for the race which was looking up to be a good one. The title sponsors, Celtic Airspares would shortly be arriving at the track for their day out with Murphy Prototypes. I would be helping Sarah (the team’s PR manager?) with all thirty guests, bringing them to the pit walk where they could get drivers signatures, it was soon apparent that the Murphy crew drew in the biggest crowds during the pit walk.
We then brought the guests to the corporate suite for the start of the tour where they could see the cars coming down the Wellington Straight into Becketts and Luffield corner. During the race we brought the guest down to the garage during pit stops to see first-hand how everything was done. We gave them team radios so they could hear what was going on. After that we brought the guests around the circuit to see the cars on track. Unfortunately the team had to retire with an electrical problem which couldn't be resolved after looking very strong for a podium finish on the first weekend of the European Le Mans Series.
We didn't have a race on Sunday we went to the track to watch the World Endurance Championship (WEC) where a driver that Greg manages, Brendon Hartley was racing for Porsche in the 919 LMP1 car. Greg very kindly got us into the Porsche hospitality suite to watch the race from where there was food and a masseuse when needed. Unfortunately Brendon's car had to retire early which was a shame as they were in a good place for a win but had drivetrain issue.
I'd just like to thank Greg for the opportunity to see first hand how a professional team works, it really makes you proud to be Irish when you see such a great team doing so well and to have such great people working for them. I was made feel welcome from the off, I'm really looking forward to the next ELMS race in Imola in May with Murphy Prototype.
Read more from guest blogger Sean Doyle