David Russell to drive the new-look Pepsi Max Crew Commodore in Darwin Photo credit: Kelly Racing

David Russell to drive the new-look Pepsi Max Crew Commodore in Darwin Photo credit: Kelly Racing

David Russell will replace Greg Murphy in the #51 Pepsi Max Crew Commodore for the Skycity Triple Crown at Hidden Valley Raceway in Darwin this weekend.

This will be the second time that the Kelly Racing Development Series driver has subbed for the injured Murphy this year, having replaced Murphy during the Tasmania Challenge after he underwent minor surgery earlier in the season.

Murphy has been sidelined for three months after it was confirmed that he will undergo further back surgery this week. He is expected to miss the next four V8 Supercar Championship rounds but hopes to return for the first endurance round at Sandown in September.

Russell, who will also partner Rick Kelly in the #15 Jack Daniel's Racing Commodore VE at Sandown and Bathurst is ready to take his chance in his second championship drive this year.

“I've got a job to do for the Pepsi Max Crew and will grab this second opportunity with both hands,” Russell said.

“The Pepsi Max Crew have a huge activation underway in Darwin and I'll be doing my absolute best to put the #51 as far up the grid as possible.”

Kelly Racing Director Todd Kelly said: “It’s an absolute shame that Murph is facing an extended stint out of his car and we will support him through whatever means are necessary to ensure he is fit and healthy again in no time.

“Despite this adversity am confident that we have a solid option to replace Murph in David Russell.

“Dave knows our gear well, is an experienced campaigner and have no doubt he will perform well for the Pepsi Max Crew.”

It is expected that Russell's drive will be a one-off with Kelly Racing CEO John Crennan revealing further announcements will be made for upcoming events.

“The Pepsi Max Crew partnership is one of the most dynamic and exciting programs in the category and we will look to ensure this unfortunate situation has a silver lining and extract some positives on and off the track,” Crennan said.

“We can expect a series of exciting announcements in the coming weeks for Murphy’s replacements.”

The Pepsi Max Crew Commodore will be sporting its second livery design of the 2012 season at this weekend’s event. The livery fashioned by the team's pit crew is based on Murphy's helmet design and features a combination of black matte and gloss mixed with orange highlights and a feather-style graphic.