Niall Murray will take part in the final round of this year’s USF 2000 Championship after sealing a one-off deal with the Newman Wachs Racing team.
Formula Ford 1600 dominator Murray will join the team for the season finale at Watkins Glen on September 1-3 for what will be his US racing debut.
Last year’s Festival, National, Martin Donnelly and Walter Hayes Trophy champion Murray is no stranger to USF 2000, having taken part in last year’s Mazda Road to Indy Shootout, which offers the winner a funded season in the American single-seater class.
“I met Eddie Wachs [Newman Wachs team boss] at last year’s shootout and we’ve kept taking since to see if we could put something together,” said Murray. “This chance came up and I have to go for it.
“I’m still doing Northern Irish FF1600 to try and qualify for the Shootout this year as, being realistic, the budgets are still high over there so it would be difficult to do the full season without the Shootout. But if this race goes well, it’ll look good if I do get into the Shootout.
“The cars are a bit different from what I’m used to – they’re basically over-powered F4 cars. But they’re good fun to drive and will be good slicks and wings experience.”
Murray will get a few days of running before the race, with an evaluation day in Chicago planned before two days at Watkins Glen. The Chicago day happens just days before the next NI FF1600 round at Kirkistown, meaning Murray will travel back from the US on the morning of the Kirkistown meeting and head to the track straight from the airport.
“It’ll be hard going for the NI FFord round as I’ll be straight into qualifying,” added Murray. “Hopefully I can avoid jet-lag and still run at the front.”