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The former Supercars ace turned TV pundit will join a star-studded line-up for the Toyota Racing Series opener at Hampton Downs on January 22-24.
He'll be aiming for a second NZGP crown nearly three decades after the first.
A 21-year-old Murphy won the race in a Reynard back in 1994, right before embarking on his hugely successful Supercars career.
“It was obviously the most significant thing that I had achieved in my career,” said Murphy.
“I had won a few things but nothing that really announced myself as someone that could be a professional race car driver.
“The big thing – I can recall the feeling around it – is that it was like I had put a stake in the ground. It meant a lot. It was a progression and a key contributor with where I went next – at that point it was still a hobby I did as an amateur but that allowed me to chase a career.”
As for his 2021 chances, Murphy said: “It will be a massive challenge. I think perspective needs to be applied – I’m 48 and haven’t done anything serious in a car, competing for such a big trophy, since 2014 really.
"I have done a bit of GT racing but that was just fun.
“The competitive element will kick in – none of us wants to be there making up the numbers – but I will not have it easy."
Murphy added that competing in what will be Kenny Smith's 50th NZGP was a key motivating factor to doing a deal.
“The fact that Kenny Smith is entering his 50th New Zealand Grand Prix was a big draw card to competing," he said.
"If my involvement helps grow the interest in the event then that will be a success.
“This event deserves to be recognised for what it is. By getting some top performers in other categories and stars that have competed before coming back it will help create the spark in the New Zealand Grand Prix that is deserves.”
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