Ronan Murphy’s debut US Formula 4 round from Mid-Ohio over the weekend was marred by misfortune and under-preparation, but the aspiring kiwi racer remains adamant that with some more time to adapt to the new car he is capable of challenging for future podiums and wins.
Having never turned a lap around the 3.8km circuit, Murphy’s weekend kicked off with a woeful start when an unforeseen issue sentenced him to the pitlane for the majority of practice.
Ultimately, it meant his qualifying performance was substantially hindered and it showed when the kiwi could only muster 26th out of 33-strong grid on Friday.
“Mid-Ohio was really tough,” Murphy told Velocity News. “I came into the weekend not having much seat time under my belt and unfortunately things didn’t go my way in practice due to some issues meaning I only got to turn about 5 laps, which were my first around the track.
“This meant it was incredibly difficult to adapt [to the car] in such a short amount of time which lead to a disappointing qualifying.”
Starting in the lower reaches of the grid, Murphy did showcase his impressive potential with a stunning drive in treacherous conditions on Saturday, climbing 13 spots in half a lap before the safety car was deployed and putting an end to his charge.
It did not bod much better in race 2 for the 18-year-old after race officials deemed Saturday’s race to be a non-competition round and Murphy was compelled to start the following race back in 26th.
An unfortunate collision with a rival on lap 2 while jostling for position culminated in race-ending suspension damage, leaving a bitter Murphy with zero points for his weekend’s efforts.
Nonetheless, after the global pandemic drastically curtailed the kiwi’s pre-season testing time, Murphy is confident that with time he can challenge the front runners and steer himself to a maiden victory.
“The cars are awesome but there is still more to find which will come through time in the seat I believe,” he explained.
“They are quite different to cars I’ve previously raced but I’m really enjoying them so far and can’t wait to get back into it at Virginia.
“I definitely believe we have the package and team to be running at the pointy end, and there were definitely glimpses over the weekend of what’s possible, but at the end of the day it was all completely new heading into Round 1 and the preparation just wasn’t good enough this time around.
“Qualifying is going to be key this year with such a big field of cars and unfortunately I just didn’t get it right this time.”
The Kiwi Motorsport outfit which Murphy will contest the 2020 season under did prove to be one of the quickest teams at Mid-Ohio.
A podium finish for Dylan Tavella and Top 10 results for Jose Blanco and Toyota Racing Series graduate Spike Kohlbecker suggests Murphy has the team necessary to guide him towards victory.
The US Formula 4 championship will return to action on July 17-19 at Virginia International Raceway.