The Kelly Racing team will be seeking two new drivers in its line-up, after today announcing that Greg Murphy and Karl Reindler will not drive for the team when it debuts its new Nissan Altima cars in the 2013 V8 Supercars Championship season.
Next weekend’s Sydney Telstra 500 at Sydney Olympic Park will be the final outing for Murphy and Reindler with the four-car outfit as it farewells its partnership with Holden.
Veteran driver Murphy has been part of the Kelly Racing stable for two seasons, racing in Pepsi Max colours. His best result for the team was a third-placed finish he an co-driver Allan Simonsen achieved at the 2011 Bathurst 1000.
The New Zealander’s 2012 season has been significantly impacted by a major back injury he sustained in the opening round, the Clipsal 500, and he has since missed five championship rounds after two bouts of surgery. His absence has meant he languished at the bottom of the championship standings among the full-time drivers on the grid.
“Rather than wait until after Homebush to make this announcement, the team wanted to be completely open about the forthcoming change and ensure both drivers have a fitting farewell as they have been outstanding and valued members of our team,” he said in today’s announcement.
“In the past three months, the team were required to complete a comprehensive review of all the driver scenarios for 2013. All scenarios included the strong consideration of retaining Greg and Karl, however, for various reasons we were unable to hold them for 2013.
“[He] is a real pro who constantly pushes to lift the bar and his experience has been invaluable in the development of many of our technical staff in the past two seasons.
“His back issues and missing four races threw the momentum of the Pepsi Max Crew earlier in the season, and as a team since Murph’s return we haven’t been able to deliver a strong enough package to allow him the opportunity to compete at the front of the field which we all know he is capable of.”
Reindler, who moved to Kelly Racing during the 2011-12 off-season, has endured an underwhelming first season with the Mildura-based team in his season of full-time driving in the V8 Supercars Championship.
He currently lies 25th in the overall championship standings, the same position in which he finished the 2011 standings driving for Brad Jones Racing.
“Karl has been a great fit with everyone in the team this year,” Kelly added.
“He has a great attitude, is a true team player, keeps himself extremely fit and also has a good feel for the business and marketing side of the sport.
“Karl is coming up to his fourth year in the main game in V8s in 2013 and will be knocking hard on the door as an emerging young talent in the main game V8 series and I am sure will be in demand for the 2013 season.”
On the basis of Reindler’s current form, it’s hard to see how this would be likely.
While the team was not yet in a position to confirm its full 2013 line-up, it is widely believed that the team is in advanced negotiations with GRM Holden stalwart Michael Caruso and James Moffat, who is off-contract after two seasons with Dick Johnson Racing, which is scaling back to a two-car operation at the end of the season.
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