Murray closer to USA dream as new British Formula Ford Champion
Dublin’s Niall Murray has yesterday clinched the 2016 BRSCC British National Formula Ford 1600 Championship title with three rounds left in the series, scooping one of the UK’s biggest prizes on offer to young single-seater racing drivers, a ticket to the USA based Mazda Road to Indy Shootout, where the eventual winner will receive funding of up to $200,000 USD for a season of racing in the USF2000 Championship.
Coming off the back of another dominant double victory last time out in Anglesey, Murray and his Bernard Dolan Racing team were feeling understandably confident coming to Donington Park for the penultimate weekend of the championship. Knowing that with any sort of reasonable finish in race one, they could remove the chances of championship victory from any other driver, the team prepared themselves in the usual fashion for the weekend and were keen to continue their winning spree.
Right from Qualifying, Niall showed that he was not engaging conservative mode just yet, securing pole position for race one, his fifth pole position start of the year. With the first of two races getting underway just after 11am on Sunday morning, Murray remained in front at the end of lap one. Initially opening an advantage of just over one second, Luke Williams started to close in with a series of fastest laps. Just getting a nose in front as the pair crossed the line to start lap ten, with Niall commanding the inside line, he maintained his lead as they exited Redgate corner. With Williams locked onto his gearbox, the Firman driver would spin off on lap 14 on a damp patch at the back of the circuit, allowing Murray to cruise to the finish and with his race win, become the 2016 BRSCC British Formula Ford 1600 Champion with three rounds still remaining.
Leading the field away again from the top spot in race two, Niall briefly slipped to second coming into the first corner, with fellow Irishman Stephen Daly moving into the lead. However by McLeans corner Murray was now back in front to lead from the end of the opening tour. Feeling confident behind the wheel of his Murray Motorsport supported Van Diemen RF99, Niall was hoping he could snatch the circuit’s Formula Ford 1600 lap record, and set off on a charge. After 12 laps, Niall crossed the line to take his second win of the weekend and crucially the fastest lap of the race which was ultimately good enough to make him the new Formula Ford 1600 lap record holder around the Donington Park National Circuit.
Out of 14 races so far this season, Niall has been the winner on 10 occasions, along with 11 podiums, nine fastest laps and five pole positions.
Niall Murray – #5 Bernard Dolan Racing Van Diemen RF99:
“Two more wins to make it 10 out of 14 this year! To make it that bit sweeter I also set the unofficial lap record to add to my Ginetta Junior lap record here! A Great way to close off the year thanks a million to everyone involved, I’m certain I wouldn’t have been able to do this without the help of everybody especially Bernard Dolan Racing who is the brains behind this car! Thanks to all my sponsors for an amazing year including Murray Motorsport, CL Brakes, OMP Racing, SuperB Lithium Batteries, Fish Graphics and P1 : Digital. I’m really looking forward to the trophy races now!
Rounds 15 & 16 – Croft, Darlington, UK, Saturday 10th & Sunday 11th September 2016.