The pros and cons of the Supercars Championship’s decision to mix its tyre strategies for its Covid-19-impacted ‘SuperSprint’ rounds continues to be widely debated, following the category’s latest event at Hidden Valley in Darwin.
The rounds have been classed as a success by some, due to the mixture of different race winners and less predictable results. Others, however, have criticized the move because of how it dismantles the advantage of teams and drivers who have an edge in speed — making for ‘contrived’ results.
While some drivers and team owners have been critical of the spectacle (Erebus Racing CEO Barry Ryan referred to it as “fake racing” during the second Sydney Motorsport Park event), four-time Bathurst 1000 champion Greg Murphy has thrown his support behind the move.
A circumspect but enthused Murphy recently appeared on motorsport podcast Parked Up, alongside regular hosts Tony D’Alberto and media guru Grant Rowley.
“The guys that dominate every single weekend, they’re not going to be overly happy with it because they’re not able to gather as many trophies. They probably feel that it’s being manipulated a little bit. But sitting at home, and if I take off my work hat and my involvement with Supercars, I think it’s fantastic. I’m a huge advocate, ” Murphy said.
“Anyone involved in the sport knows that we needed to be changing the way that we go about our racing, reducing the costs, spreading the love a bit more. Everyone has the same opportunities to do these things during these races, it’s just how you plan it.”
First introduced at Sydney Motorsport Park’s double-header, the system revolves around giving teams a limited allocation of Dunlop soft tyres. This forces them to budget their usage of these tyres alongside use of the slower, more long-lasting Dunlop hard tyre.
The high-degredation events at Sydney Motorsport Park produced a varied set of results, with Brad Jones Racing’s Nick Percat defying his victory drought to win twice, Tickford Racing’s Jack Le Brocq claiming a maiden win, and Kiwi Andre Heimgartner claiming a maiden race pole.
“It’s not like we’re falsifying results, we’re creating opportunities for people to choose. It’s giving other guys the chance to have their day in the sun, and that is so critically important for the future of our sport moving forward,” Murphy added.
“I’ve been relishing it. I’ve been really excited about who’s going to do what, because it leaves everything open to different interpretation. Therefore, you’re getting different results, and that’s what we need to grow the sport and continue to getting more people wanting to be involved. […] I’ve not seen a negative to it, personally. If I was a race car driver I’d see it differently. But it’s not about the race car drivers and it’s not about the teams. It’s about the entertainment, at the end of the day.”