Similar to the Toyota Racing Series, the BNT V8 Supertoureres were also at Highlands Motorsport Park in 2014, for the first time. It was the first of a four round series that Greg Murphy was to dominate, winning 11/13 and finishing second and third in the other races. Second overall was Simon Evans followed by Richard Moore, Ant Pedersen and Andre Heimgartner. Here’s Bernard Carpinter’s weekend wrap from Highlands in 2014…..
Champion Murphy dominates BNT V8 SuperTourers
A clean sweep by Greg Murphy propelled him into the early lead of the 2014 BNT V8 SuperTourers championship at Highlands Motorsport Park today.
“We always come to do this – it’s the whole idea of everyone who goes racing,” reigning champion Murphy said after winning all three races at the Fuchs 250 meeting, opening round of the Hankook Super Series.
“I’ve got an advantage because I’ve been here before.” In November Murphy raced a GT at the inaugural meeting of the new circuit near Cromwell in Central Otago.
“But there’s no question it’s a bit easier than last year,” he added, referring to the absence of V8 Supercar drivers Shane Van Gisbergen and Scott McLaughlin. Van Gisbergen is in the US racing in the big Daytona sports-car event.
Murphy’s domination led at least one team manager to think Murphy’s M3 team must have found some new developments on his Holden Commodore, but the driver laughed that off.
“We haven’t done anything to the car; we haven’t had time since last year,” he said.
His closest competition came from rising young Aucklander Andre Heimgartner, who was second yesterday and second again this morning, right on Murphy’s rear bumper at times in wet, difficult conditions.
“I had a couple of looks [at overtaking] but I didn’t want to risk hitting him,” Heimgartner said. “It’s all about finishing and getting good points.
“Over the break I’ve had a think about a lot of stuff, how I drive and how I conduct myself in the car, and that’s paying off.”
In the final race, the 20-lap feature, Murphy’s team-mate Richard Moore from Auckland came through to second, while Heimgartner’s fourth was enough to give him second place in the championship standings.
Mark Gibson achieved a highly creditable breakthrough as he came third in his first meeting as a full-time driver in BNT V8 SuperTourers. He had been a co-driver in the endurance events last year but has now taken over John McIntyre’s Ford Falcon.
“That was a real full-on race,” the young Aucklander (originally from Taupo) said.
“We kept it clean and looked after our tyres so we had a car we could fight with at the end. John was on the radio mentoring me – he’s very calming, which makes a big difference.”
Hamilton driver Ant Pedersen, who finished a close second in the 2013 championship, took a third and fourth in the first two races with his Ford, but in the final he came last after losing time in the pits with a power steering problem.
Aucklander Simon Evans also started with a fourth and a third, but he dropped down the field in the final after spinning his Holden.
Angus Fogg, also from Auckland, did not take part in today’s races after a heavy impact against a wall yesterday caused serious damage to his Holden.
Championship points: Murphy 291, Heimgartner 228, Moore 213, Pedersen 192, Gibson 172, Morgan Haber (Australia, Holden) 158.