This weekend’s opening round of the European Le Mans Series will see endurance racing team Murphy Prototypes begin a new era in its four-year history when it fields a two-car entry for the first time, one in each of the series’ two prototype classes: LMP3 and LMP2.
The team’s LMP3 class entry is a brand new venture for Murphy Prototypes. Announced earlier this year, the team formed an association with Ave Motorsport and Riley Technologies to run the two North Carolina companies’ official entry in this year’s ELMS. This exciting programme includes a partnership between the team and US engineering and prototyping specialists 3-Dimensional Services Group.
With the Ave-Riley AR-2 yet to break cover, the team will field a Nissan-engined Ginetta for the start of the season, before swapping to the Ave-Riley AR-2 as soon as the new car’s testing and development programme is completed. Driving the LMP3 entry at Silverstone will be Ave Motorsport CEO Tony Ave, together with his regular team mate Doug Peterson – both drivers two-times Trans Am Champions.Joining them for the three-driver line up will be experienced Irish sports and saloon car specialist Michael Cullen.
The team’s LMP2 class entry will feature its existing Oreca 03R Nissan which it campaigned at the sharp end of the field last season. The car will be driven at Silverstone by Irishman Damien Faulkner, a former Porsche Carerra Cup GB Champion and American Le Mans regular; Englishman Shaun Balfe, a former Spanish GT Champion and experienced sportscar racer; and LMP2 rookie Seán Doyle, the up-and-coming Irish Supercar driver and Nissan Generation Next Ambassador getting his first taste of competition in a prototype sportscar.
“We have been working hard behind the scenes this winter to put this two-car, two-class, campaign together”, said Team Principal Greg Murphy. “Entering a car in each of the Prototype categories is a really exciting challenge for us and running the official Ave-Riley entry takes things to another level.
“We are expecting the new Ave-Riley AR-2 to be ready mid-season and, whilst it’s a new entity for all of us, it’s going to be great to be able to develop a car from the start. There’s no doubt that we have an interesting year ahead of us and if we can continue to be one of the front running teams in LMP2 and then do the same in LMP3, then we will have achieved our goals for this season. Bring it on!”
The action at Silverstone kicks off on Friday with 90-minutes of Free Practice in the morning and another 90-minutes in the afternoon. Saturday’s programme sees qualifying for the LMP3 class takes place between 11.10 and 11.20 and the LMP2 class between 11.30 and 11.40, with the four-hour race getting the green light at 14.30. All times are BST.
For further details and to find the latest news about the Murphy Prototypes, plus images and videos, visit the team’s Facebook page and website: www.murphyprototypes.com