A superb debut from Dubliner, Niall Murray at the weekend in the Usf2000 Series for Newman Wachs Racing Team at Watkins Glen. Murray’s approach to the event was professional and calculated.
Flying out to the team two weeks ago for a meet and greet session, together with seat fitting and some testing, the Dublin racer took it all in his stride. “Had a great day on Thursday at Autobahn Country Club racetrack! The car was an awful lot different to what I’ve ever driven before but I dialled into it fairly quickly and by session three I was .1 off the fastest time the team know of around there. The guys at Newman Wachs Racing Team run a fantastic setup and the car felt great from the word go! Just chilling for a few days now around Chicago city and then off to Watkins Glen on Wednesday for some more testing”.
Murray then flew back to from America, arriving to Dublin Airport at 07:00am on the 26th, then drove over two hours to Kirkistown race track to compete and win in both FF1600 races, unfazed by the schedule endured. It was then back on a trans-Atlantic flight to America on the 30th August for testing, qualifying and race day.
Following a first blistering practice session, Murray demonstrated he had the pace. “Good first practice session here Watkins Glen International in the Usf2000 Series! Unfortunately, due to red flags when we planned to go out I only got 4 laps and the transponder didn’t record official times but unofficially I set the 3rd quickest time of the session!” he explained.
Murray’s strategy was to conserve his tyres in practice two for qualifying. “In FP2 it transpired that everybody had to use one of their two qualifying/race tyre sets so we decided to only do 5 laps to not take the life out of them. If you take everybody’s first 5 laps then I would have been P2, .3 off P1” Murray explained.
Qualifying went well for Murray as he was only 0.165 sec off seasoned UFS2000 team-mate Darren Keane and was 9th in the session.
The race started later in the day with a rolling start. Murray was running inside the top ten, however touched a barrier while pushing the car to its limit. He suffered suspension damage, forcing him to retire.
A statement from Murray Motorsport explained: “Overall a strong showing from Niall Murray Racing in his first Usf2000 Series event at Watkins Glen International this weekend. Niall struggled for pace in the race while running just inside the top 10 and was pushing the car over its limits, touched a barrier putting the suspension out of line. He retired the car to the pit lane on lap 6. It was a great experience for Niall who is thankful to Newman Wachs for the opportunity. Niall will be back out in the US for the Mazda Motorsports Road to Indy scholarship later this year.
Murray will surely learn from the whole experience as his focus now is on the Road To Indy prize.