– Behind the wheel of a Van Diemen RF99 prepared by Formula Ford legend Bernard Dolan, Dubliner Niall Murray took the UK’s premier FF1600 series, the BRSCC Avon Tires Formula Ford 1600 Championship, by storm, winning 12 of the 16 rounds before taking victory at both the Formula Ford Festival and Walter Hayes Trophy.
Murray will fly to California on Saturday to give himself time to get over the jet lag before the shootout takes place at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca next Tuesday and Wednesday when he will be measured against 18 other young hot shots from across the globe.
After such an amazing season, Niall has no nerves ahead of next week’s potentially life changing contest which will include a “mock” race on the second day. “I just have to do what I always do and drive as fast as I can,” he confidently reports. “I can’t do any more than that. My goal is not to make any silly mistakes – which I have not really done all year.”
In the build-up to the event, Murray has received a great deal of attention from the Irish press with whom a number of interviews have been organized. A good impression should be made during these as Niall has been undergoing media training because he knows that during the shootout he needs to give a good account of himself when tested in this aspect of being a professional racing driver.
As well as working hard on presenting himself in the appropriate manner when not in the car, Niall has also focused on getting in peak condition for the driving tests with many hours spent in the gym. An education in the nuances of the legendary tarmac that makes up Mazda Raceway was also part of his programme. Data, track guides and onboard footage have all been reviewed to provide Niall with an understanding of every inch of the facility.
Although this will be the first time that Murray has ventured to the circuit in Monterey, it has always been one of his favourites ever since “racing” there on his PlayStation as a child. Things have indeed come a full circle, particularly as his preparations in recent weeks included driving the circuit on iRacing and other simulators to arm him with even more knowledge. We wish Niall well as he represents the British Racing & Sports Car Club over in the States in what he expects to be “an amazing experience.” Click here for the original story. Words by Dave Williams; photograph courtesy of Rachel Bourne.