Murphy Prototypes Proud of Performance in 80th 24 Heures Du Mans

 Car:  #48 Oreca 03-Nissan                             Class:             LMP2 

Total Time:          13:25’07.987 (Hour 15)           Best Lap:      3’40.770 (Brendon Hartley, Lap 184)

Classification:      DNF (43)                         Total Laps:   196 (of 233)

The Murphy Prototypes team has shown that it is a genuine contender in sports car racing. The young Irish squad maintained the lead of the LMP2 category during the night time stints and demonstrated strong performance whilst battling among the front runners of the class for the majority of its time on track. The #48 Oreca retired with suspension failure on lap 196 in the 15th hour with Brendon Hartley behind the wheel.

Warren Hughes

“The night time running really helped us establish a stamp on the race. The car was running a lot better in those conditions and it was comfortable and easy to set the times. There was only the other Oreca who could get near what we were doing during those stints, so from a performance point of view we had the measure of everybody. But, as I’ve said many times, you are not just fighting the direct competition here, but you are fighting the event and that became clear when we suffered the puncture and then the suspension failure. But the race had just come to us. The strength of our driver package also showed that we were able to obtain a lead and also fight our way back in to contention, which we were doing until our retirement. It is massively encouraging and satisfying to be a part of what we achieved; getting ourselves into the position that we did, especially with a new team who has never competed at Le Mans. None of our issues had anything to do with how the team worked, the issues were out of our control, but that’s the nature of Le Mans.”

Jody Firth

“My second stint was made difficult initially because Warren came in with a puncture, so we had several repairs to do before the car could go out. We also had a small brake temperature issue, so we had to use quite a lot of rear bias making the car prone to locking up in the rear brakes. That was very difficult to manage and obviously track temperatures had dropped a lot too making the whole track quite slippery. But it was a good run and we were still maintaining the pace. The car hadn’t missed a beat bar the puncture up to that point, so all credit to the team who have done a fantastic job. I’m naturally very disappointed that we could not finish the race, but the team did nothing wrong. There’ll be no fingers pointed, it’s just one of those things and that’s endurance racing. We had the pace to run at the front and that is evident as we held on to the lead for so long. It is satisfying to have contested our first Le Mans 24 hours event and we have showed that we can compete with best.”

Brendon Hartley

“My first stint was really good. We were in P1 by the end of the stint, so it was very nice to see the ‘1’ light showing on the car. I think I managed the traffic pretty well and I was really happy with my performance. We stayed on the hard tyres for three stints until dusk and that was quite impressive - that we could maintain tyre temperature and do some pretty good lap times. It was just an amazing rollercoaster of emotions. Hopping out of the car I was wired for a while with excitement and then the realisation hits you that there are still potentially 13 hours of the race to go. I then had my first taste of real night racing, which I was pretty confident about. After two or three laps I was really comfortable and felt right at home in the car; everything clicked. I was passing other LMP2 cars and we had great pace. Even though we had the problem with the suspension in the end, I am really happy with what we achieved. We can leave Le Mans knowing that the whole team did a brilliant job and with our heads held high. ”

Greg Murphy, Murphy Prototypes Founder

“We are obviously disappointed having been in the lead for so long, but when you get a puncture and then suspension failure there’s nothing you can do. Sports car racing is a team sport and everyone in Murphy Prototypes has worked their socks off at this event. I stand by what I’ve said before that I wouldn’t swap my drivers for anyone else on the grid. We are who we are and we won’t give up. Watch this space.”                                                                                                                           

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