Ronan Murphy has labelled his 2020 racing season as his favourite year to date as the young Kiwi impressed in the United States Formula 4 Championship.
The Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport driver’s best finish of his debut US season came from a standout drive at Virginia International Raceway back in July where he scored his debut podium.
Murphy also proved to be one of the more complete drivers on the grid with his wet weather prowess on show in a handful of occasions. It has left the 19-year-old ranking 2020 as one of the best seasons in his junior career.
‘The year was a big one for me, you know, spending six months of my time in the United States,” Murphy told Velocity News.
“With everything going on in the world, I felt incredibly fortunate to still have the opportunity to go and compete over there. And that is also thanks to many awesome people back home here in New Zealand and the team at Kiwi Motorsport.
“But for sure the 2020 season in America was my favourite season of racing I have done to date. You know, being able to race at some legendary circuits against some really talented and experienced drivers – it was cool.
“The year was filled with lots of ups and downs, but the highlights for sure were the podium at Laguna Seca in the Formula Pro-Western championship round.
“There was also being able to stand up on the podium in the second round of the national championship at Virginia. Plus, all the top 10 points finishes we scored over the year in some really gruelling races.”
Murphy ended the year 16th in the standings. A healthy streak of points in the final few races bolstering the Kiwi’s tally.
However, weekends of triumph were blended with weekends where he struggled to get to grips with his new car.
On paper, his season is almost a complete contrast to his Kiwi Motorsport teammates, three of which locked out 2-3-4 in the standings.
Still, Murphy believes that the lows of his debut season strengthened his mindset. He was able to take each challenge head-on and come away with plenty of learning experiences.
“For me, the biggest low of the season was the brake failure I had at Round 5 in Miami, which put us out of a top 10 finish and caused a decent amount of damage to the car.
“There were also a few driving errors, mechanical problems and sometimes just not quite being comfortable with the car set up cost us some really strong and important finishes at times as well.
“But it was all part of the first-year learning process in an extremely competitive championship.”
2021 will see Murphy move to the Toyota 86 championship with Dayle ITM Racing.
It will be a different challenge for the youngster, given he has spent most of his career in open-wheelers.
“At this stage the switch to tin top style cars is to keep racing miles up over summer before seeing what options are on the table for next year,” Murphy said.
“But I have no doubt I will enjoy it, so never know what the future may hold.
“After returning from America, I didn’t have anything particularly planned or lined up. But Deb Day from Dayle ITM had been working really hard putting this all together. When she offered me the opportunity, I was really excited about it.
“I have spent all my time racing open wheeler cars and have only had a few runs in an 86 about three years ago now, so it is pretty much entirely new for me.
“Competitively, I’m not too sure where we are going to be at this stage. Hopefully, once we can start turning some laps, we will begin to get pretty close.”