Motorsport: Kiwis Greg Murphy, Richie Stanaway announce shock wildcard pairing for Bathurst 1000

Supercars legend Greg Murphy is back.

The four-time Bathurst 1000 champion will partner fellow Kiwi Richie Stanaway in a wildcard team at the 'Great Race' in October, marking a return to Australasia's leading tin-top category, seven years after retiring after the 2014 epic at Mount Panorama.

Teammate Stanaway shocked the motorsport world, when he retired after a disappointing two-year stint in Supercars, with the young Kiwi finishing near the back of the pack in 2018 and 2019.

The pair will drive Murphy's iconic No. 51 - a number he carried from 2001-12. The car will be run by Erebus Motorsport, with backing from Boost Mobile - a longtime sponsor of Stanaway. 

Boost boss Peter Adderton was a key contributor to Murphy's early days in the sport, so 2021 is an opportunity for the 48-year-old to pay back that support.

"All of a sudden, here's a group of people who are wanting and willing to make this happen," Murphy says.

"I’m very fortunate and lucky to be presented with the opportunity to go back and race at a place that means so much to me.

"The No. 51 has become a signature that has been associated with me and my career for quite some time, so it will be cool to bring it back.

"Peter [Adderton] played a significant role in how I came to be a full-time professional race car driver and now we are back here doing this together."

Stanaway - who won the Sandown 500, alongside Cam Waters, in 2017 - thought it was bad joke when he was approached to end his retirement, and drive alongside one of his idols and mentors. 

"Murph has always been a big inspiration of mine and driving with Murph is one of the big reasons why I want to come back. It's cool to have someone of his calibre back in the car at the biggest race of the year.

"Erebus are a team I’ve always admired and they’ve done a great job over the past few years, so I’m really looking forward to seeing what it’s all like from the inside."

Adderton admits the idea stemmed from a bit of "tongue-in-cheek" on social media, after the announcement of Russell Ingall's return to Bathurst, but after a few weeks of stewing on it, he decided to make it happen.

"I got on the phone to Greg and Richie, and although they initially weren’t interested, it didn’t take too long for them to see what we were trying to do and for them to change their minds.

"We have an incredible relationship with the team at Erebus, and Barry [Ryan] understands better than most that the entertainment and fans are key to Supercars’ success."

Erebus chief executive Ryan has a long-standing relationship with Murphy, engineering several of the Kiwis tilts at the Mount. 

He is excited to see what the Kiwi duo can do when the cars hit the track in early October.

"As soon as we saw Peter’s idea, I thought that’d be a big undertaking, but we almost ran a wildcard with Boost last year, so we already had a plan," Ryan says.

 "I’ve engineered Greg before and worked with him really closely. He’s basically a motorsport god in New Zealand, but he’s also got a lot of passionate Aussie fans as well, so it will be cool to see how they react to the news.

 "Both drivers know how to drive a racecar, and we’ll make sure we give them some good testing and that they’re comfortable in the car, before we get to the Mountain."