World Hotrod Champion Shane Murphy is to make the switch from oval to circuit racing in 2017, with the Cork driver announcing he is to contest the high profile SEAT Supercup Ireland Championship. Becoming the first Irish driver to lift Hotrod racing’s biggest prize when he was crowned the 2015 World Champion, the multiple European Champion will make the transition to the factory built SEAT Supercopa based championship with the same Tervas Gas Racing team that brought him huge success on the ovals. While well aware of the tough challenges he faces in his debut season of circuit racing and of going up against some of Ireland’s most respected touring car drivers, the 32-year-old is starting from a good foundation having acquired the back to back title winning SEAT from reigning champions Murray Motorsport for his campaign.
Commenting on his switch to the 12 round SEAT Supercup Ireland, Murphy said, ‘I’m very excited to be given the opportunity to compete in the SEAT Supercup championship. I think it is going to be a real challenge for me as I have never done circuit racing before but I’m looking forward to the new experience’. With backing from Tervas Gas, Ireland’s only independent LPG provider for both bulk and bottled gas, he added, ‘I have only completed one test day in the car and I do think it’s going to be tough but I’m up for it’. Having started out what would turn into a very successful Hotrod career at the age of 12, Murphy, who will also have backing from Patrick Murphy & Sons fuel suppliers, will stay true to his Hotrod roots when he moves to the SEATs by continiung to compete under his 970 race number.
Murphy will make his SEAT race debut at the season opener on April 9th in Mondello Park with Championship Manager Oisin O’Briain equally excited about having the World Champion onboard for 2017. ‘We are delighted that the SEAT Supercup has attracted a driver of Shane’s calibre, it’s a great testament to the high profile of the championship and the quality & performance of the Supercopa. Shane is going to be a great addition to the grid and his switch from Hotrods will generate a lot of new interest in the championship. He might have no previous circuit racing experience but he didn’t end up a World Hotrod Champion without being a talented and quick driver. I’m sure it won’t be long before he is up to speed with the transition.’
Entering into its third season, the 2017 SEAT Supercup Ireland will take drivers & teams to three different race tracks over six double-header race weekends. Representing the championship in style when he took TCR class victory on his 24-hour race debut in Dubai last month, Erik Holstein is set to defend the 2016 title he won representing Wexford SEAT dealer Enniscorthy Motor Company. With Murphy having acquired Holstein’s winning car, the reigning champion is expected to shortly bolster the total number of cars in the country with the acquisition of another of the SEAT Sport built 301 Bhp Leons.