The Murphy Prototypes endurance racing team is back in action next weekend, when it heads to Austria for round three of the five-round European Le Mans Series and where it gets back to the business of scoring championship points and challenging for the 2015 ELM title. The race – the 4-Hours of Red Bull Ring, takes place on Sunday 12th July on the 4.326km (2.688-mile) Grand Prix circuit situated close to the city of Spielberg in the Styrian Alps.
After scoring a podium position in round two – the 4-Hours of Imola and where the team finished in second place – four weeks later Murphy Prototypes followed the result with an impressive fifth in the LMP2 class and 13th overall in the 24-Hours of Le Mans. The results underpinned the team’s potential and, with LMP2 (as opposed to LMP1 at Le Mans) being the top category in the European Series, team principal Greg Murphy makes no secret of the fact that they are in it to win it:
“You have to aim high in motorsport and that’s what we do for every race. Because the competition is extremely fierce, we know it’s going to be tough to win, but it also means the sense of achievement when we score a good result is very high. We proved in the last ELMS round that a podium place is achievable and, looking at the bigger picture, if we can continue to finish in the top three for the rest of the season, then it’s going to do our title hopes no harm at all.”
The team’s Oreca 03R will be driven at the Red Bull Ring by its three regular ELMS drivers: RSA-born Mark Patterson from New York, Nathanaël Berthon from Romagnat in France and Anglo-Irish driver Michael Lyons from Bishops Stortford. With the trio finishing second in Italy, it is clear the combination works well and consequently, hopes are high this weekend for another podium finish.
Mark Patterson: “Given the solid race pace we’ve shown at all of the venues and the clever strategies implemented by the team, we know we have the car, the crew and the drivers to get ourselves on the podium. Being a ‘classic’ design, the circuit at Red Bull Ring features hard braking, blind-corner entries and consequently unbalanced exits, before long straights. It’s no bull at all and it’s the type of track that us drivers dream about.”
Nathanaël Berthon: “I’ve raced at Red Bull Ring twice before and I know that finding good grip is always an issue, but it’s the same for all the teams, of course. It has not been my luckiest circuit up to now, so it’s time to break that tradition as I am sure we have the potential of another podium result – and let’s hope it’s one step higher this time!”
The programme for the 4-Hours of Red Bull Ring begins on Saturday (11th) with two, 90-minute Free Practice sessions. The 20-minute Qualifying session takes place at 09.45 on Sunday, with the four-hour race getting underway at 13.30 (all times CEST).
Murphy Prototypes is an Irish-owned endurance racing team that is located in Brackley, Northamptonshire, England. Headed up by Dublin businessman Greg Murphy, the team is Ireland’s sole representative in the LMP2 (Le Mans Prototype Class 2) category in the ELMS (European Le Mans Series) and the 24-Hours of Le Mans. The car used by the team is a Nissan-powered Oreca 03R prototype sportscar.
The team is supported by: Trend Micro, Wickr, Jazz at Lincoln Center and Celtic Airspares.
Mark Patterson was born in the Republic of South Africa in 1951 (63) and has lived and worked in New York for most of his life. It wasn’t until his 40s that Mark started in motorsport and has since raced in a variety of championships in the USA and UK and competed at no less than 57 circuits around the world in a variety of GT and Prototype sportscars. Mark is proud of the fact that his race-pace defies his age, as he is by three-years the oldest driver in the ELMS – where he drives for Murphy Prototypes – this season and most probably the only Grandfather on the grid.
Nathanaël Berthon was born in Romagnat, France in 1989 (25) and continues to live in the same region. He claimed his first European title in 2005 driving karts and went on to compete in single-seaters. He has tested Formula 1 cars and, from 2012, has competed in the GP2 Championship, scoring a number of podium finishes, with his most recent top-three achieved in Bahrain this year. In 2014 he made the move into sports cars and drove for Murphy Prototypes at Le Mans and in the ELMS.
Michael Lyons was born in 1991 (24). He describes himself as Anglo-Irish and currently lives in Bishops Stortford in Hertfordshire, England. He started racing in 2007 at 16. Soon his natural talents became clear to see and, at 18 years old, he became the youngest ever winner of the F1 race at the Silverstone Classic. Since then he has achieved success in a variety of single seaters: Formula Ford, Formula Renault, NZ F5000 and in further historic F1 races. In 2011 he turned his hand to sports cars, achieving his most impressive results – with wins and podium finishes in the British GT and Blancpain Endurance Championships – behind the wheel of a Ferrari 458. 2015 sees his first season in a Prototype and, like all other cars he has driven, Michael has taken to it with consummate ease.
For further details and to find the latest news on the Murphy Prototypes team, plus images and videos, visit the team’s Facebook page and website: www.murphyprototypes.com