TRIPLE Eight’s newest signing once appeared destined for a European-based Porsche career – until a case of love at first sight.
Well, sort of.
A regular race winner in Porsche Sprint Challenge and then Carrera Cup Australia, overseas opportunities started to present themselves for Cooper Murray.
But a Team 18 evaluation day at Winton changed the course of his career.
“When I got that first taste of a Supercar, I just fell in love with it,” he told V8 Sleuth, when asked of how he ended up pivoting away from the Porsche pathway.
The 22-year-old joined the Dunlop Super2 Series last year with Eggleston Motorsport and remarkably won his very first race in the category, at Newcastle.
“I went into it quite open-minded and whatever happens, happens. And then after the first day of the season, I had very high expectations from then onwards,” he said.
The title slipped away from him, ultimately going to teammate Kai Allen, but Murray did enough to impress Triple Eight and book himself a Supercheap Auto wildcard seat alongside Craig Lowndes – who was an established icon before Murray was even born.
“I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity,” said Murray, who turned Gen3 laps at an Erebus Motorsport evaluation last year.
“To get my main game start and debut in a Triple Eight car with Triple Eight, the best team in Supercars, it’s more than I could have ever asked for and obviously a dream come true.”
The opportunity is one which could feasibly lead to a name-making result.
In 2021, Triple Eight’s wildcard of Russell Ingall/Broc Feeney was running inside the top 10 at Bathurst until the latter crashed out late.
The following year, Lowndes and Declan Fraser combined for eighth in the Great Race.
Last year, Lowndes and Zane Goddard nabbed a Sandown 500 top 10.
“For me, it will be a goal of finishing every lap that I do; hopefully we come away in a good position and just get as much experience as I can in the main game,” said Murray.
Triple Eight/Supercheap is yet to announce its exact program for Murray, which could include a solo round as was the case for Goddard in 2023.
Murray will also return for a second season in Super2 with Egglestons.