Kelly Racing will be without driver Greg Murphy for the next three months of the V8 Supercar Championship after the Pepsi Max Crew pilot suffered a relapse of the injury sustained in qualifying at the Clipsal 500 in March.
Murphy will undergo further back surgery this week and is not expected to be back behind the wheel until September's Sandown 500 – ruling him out of next week's SKYCITY Triple Crown in Darwin, the Sucrogen Townsville 400, Coates Hire Ipswich 300 and the Sydney Motorsport Park event as well as the opening endurance round of the V8 Supertourers Championship in New Zealand on the first weekend of September.
“Despite the discectomy procedure I had after Clipsal, the disc has continued to rupture and I've been in a fair amount of pain and discomfort this week,” said Murphy.
“I need to get the vertebrae fused to sort this once and for all and while it means I'll be out of the car for the next three months, I expect to be 100% and back racing for the Pepsi Max Crew here in Australia and Mike Pero Racing in New Zealand by the end of September.
“It's obviously not ideal – being out of the car is never good in motorsport, but Kelly Racing and all my sponsors on both sides of the Tasman have been incredibly understanding and supportive.
“My medical team has assured me that I will have no lasting effects from this operation which is expected to fast track a full recovery.
“I need to focus on my operation but I know contingency plans are already well under way for the rounds ahead and would expect announcements on who will fill in for me while I am out of action very soon.”
Kelly Racing is expected to make an announcement on Monday regarding Murphy's replacement for Darwin and will outline its plans for beyond Hidden Valley at a later date. Earlier this year, V8 Development Series driver, David Russell filled in for Murphy in the Tasmanian Challenge.
“We will be doing everything we can to assist Greg in making a full recovery, and depending on his medical advice, get him back racing as soon as practical,” said Kelly Racing co-owner Rick Kelly.
“Greg is one tough, hard character who will bounce back strong from this unfortunate set back to his 2012 racing season.
“This is like the old saying of 'the best laid plans of mice and men going astray' as the Pepsi Max Crew had a massive plan built around Greg and the Darwin race with a spectacular new livery launch.”