Promising Hawke's Bay motor sport driver Ronan Murphy is in analysis mode in the countdown to the 2018-19 New Zealand Formula First Championship.
"Data analysis will help when it comes to reducing my lap times by those last few tenths of a second and so will getting a bit of advice from dad," said the son of Hawke's Sports Hall of Famer and four-time Bathurst 1000 winner Greg Murphy.
A 17-year-old Napier Boys' High School Year 12 student, Murphy, finished third overall in the four-round Feilding Auto Electrical Winter Series which finished at Manfeild earlier this month. He finished fifth at the final meeting with fifth placings in all three races in the 12-strong field where competitors race cars which are powered by 1200cc engines.
"Throughout the day we struggled a bit for speed, qualifying fifth on a very damp track and eventually finishing fifth in all three races, with the last race being very wet. The highlight of the day was getting the second fastest time in race two and for the day which put me on grid two for race three," Murphy explained.
"This was a good start to my campaign in this class and I was pretty happy with third behind drivers who are more experienced in the class," Murphy said, referring to Rotorua's Blake Evans, the winner and New Plymouth's Thomas Boniface the runner-up.
Evans won the New Zealand Championship last year and Boniface is also a second-year driver in the class who boasts plenty of motorsport experience in speedway and on the karting scene. Like his father Murphy also got his motorsport grounding in karting.
"Not my best meeting by any means but I did finish all 12 races in the series and was fortunate enough to not put a mark on the car, so haven't needed to call on my accident underwriter sponsors Colin Davis Panelbeaters of Tauranga and Carter's Tyre Service (Nationwide). Thankyou Graham and Gillian Logan and Garry Carter for your support," Murphy said, indicating he is well rehearsed when it comes to acknowledging sponsors.
"I once again learnt heaps, especially about getting a better understanding of setting up the car, and I am looking forward to the National Series," Murphy said.
He expects the eight-round New Zealand Championship, which begins at Manfeild on Labour Weekend, to be a lot tougher than the Winter Series with more than 20 starters.
The Championship will continue in Pukekohe from December 7-9, Hampton Downs from January 25-27, Manfeild from February 8-10 and February 23 and 24, Hampton Downs from March 8-10 and Taupo for the final two meetings on March 23 and 24 and April 13 and 14.
Murphy earned a spot in the championship when he won the Sabre Motorsport Speedsport "Star of Tomorrow" Scholarship in May. Following his father's path and racing Supercars is Murphy's long-term goal.
"If I could race in any class I could make a living off I would be over the moon ... hopefully it will be Supercars eventually," he added.