Motorsport: Murray boosts Ginetta series with July award
The inaugural season of Ginetta Junior Ireland racing is already proving its worth in the development of young driving talent following the selection of Niall Murray as the Dunlop Young Driver of the Month for July.
At 15 years of age, Murray is the youngest ever recipient of a monthly award and goes forward with five other drivers to the final selection process for the Dunlop Motorsport Ireland Young Driver of the Year award for the Sexton Trophy and a cash scholarship of €50,000.
Having dominated the early rounds of the Junior Ireland series for 14 to 17-year-olds, Murray is in pole position to win the prize drive of a fully sponsored season in the 2011 British Ginetta Junior Championship, which runs on the British Touring Car Championship programme.
The Firhouse resident is waiting on results from his Junior Certificate as he focuses on wrapping up the Irish Ginetta series before turning his attention to the Junior Rallycross series for the winter.
Murray is already an experienced campaigner behind the wheel, having won the KF3 title at last season's 'O' Plate meeting, the culmination of a karting career that began in the Cadet class seven years ago.
From a family steeped in motorsport, Murray's car is prepared by his father Joe's well-established team, and his brother Eoin is pitching for the title in the Seat Eurocup series.
Having taken victory from pole position with fastest lap in the opening two rounds of the series at Mondello Park, Murray faced sterner opposition in the second double-header event at Mondello last weekend.
Rookie Andy O'Brien came into the series without any prior experience in motorsport and shocked the regulars by claiming victory in the first of two races. However, Murray reasserted himself in the second race but not before O'Brien had led for a while.
With fastest lap and a new class lap record going to second-placed man Joel Richardson, clearly the fledgling series is already starting to develop strength in depth.
While Murray enjoys a handy early points lead, with five races at three different events left in the season, it is far from a foregone conclusion at this point in time.
Meanwhile, the new Whiteriver Kart circuit in Collon, Co Louth, hosts its first championship meeting this weekend when the Irish Karting Club runs its prestigious race of champions event for the coveted 'C' plates.