Nick Cassidy will replace Greg Murphy for the first V8 SuperTourers two-driver round at Ricoh Motorsports Park, Taupo on September 1-2.
Due to his continuing recovery from back surgery, Murphy will sit on the sidelines for the Taupo race, leaving Jack Perkins to lead the #51 Mike Pero-backed Commodore VE.
Perkins will be paired with Cassidy, 17, where both drivers will make their V8 SuperTourers debut.
The extra time away from the seat means that Murphy will make his next race start at the Dick Smith Sandown 500 in his Pepsi Max Crew V8 Supercar, two weeks after the Taupo event.
Cassidy, 17, has spent the past few months testing and racing open wheel cars overseas and, along with Perkins, got his first taste of V8 SuperTourers power at Hampton Downs yesterday.
Murphy says that Cassidy’s talent is a great addition to his team.
“It’s disappointing that I’ll miss Taupo, but it’s just a bit too soon to get back behind the wheel in race conditions,” Murphy told Speedcafe.com.
“Nick did a couple of races for GMR (Greg Murphy Racing) in the Development Series at Sandown and Sydney last year and he did an exceptional job for someone who hadn’t driven these type of cars.
“Nick has been off in Europe testing and racing, so we were keen to give him another shot in a touring car. He’s a genuine talent, and hopefully this can add to his resume and give him a leg up.”
Murphy confirmed that he will be at Taupo to guide his team of young guns in his famous #51 Mike Pero-backed Commodore VE.
“I’ll be at the event, directing traffic, and be there in support,” Murphy said.
“It gives Jack the chance as the number one pilot, which will be great for him. It’s a chance for him to get more comfortable in these V8 SuperTourer cars.
“All going well, I will be back with him for the second two-driver race at Pukekohe.”
Cassidy is looking forward to driving with Perkins at Taupo and says that it is was an honour to be invited to drive Murphy’s car.
“It was a pretty cool call-up. It’s disappointing that Greg has to miss the event because he’ll have so many fans who’ll want to see him race at Taupo. It’s pretty big shoes to fill,” Cassidy told Speedcafe.com.
“I don’t think we have an expectation. I’ll be supporting Jack, he’ll be leading the team, so for me, I’ll just see where I am after qualifying. That will give me a gauge on where my pace is at. It’s a strong field, so I’m not putting any pressure on myself. We’ll just see how it all goes.”
After a solid bank of testing laps at Hampton Downs yesterday, Cassidy is confident he’ll be race ready.
“They are very similar to a V8 Supercar. The brakes and tyres are a bit different, and it has been a while since I drove the V8 so I’d forgotten what they are like,” he said.
“They are a challenging car to drive, for sure. The test was a massive help. We only get one practice session before qualifying at Taupo, so the test was vital for me.”
The Fathers Day 400 at Taupo will be held on September 1-2.