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Murphy/Stanaway wildcard hinges on NZ travel bubble

Erebus Motorsport is sweating on a reopening of the trans-Tasman bubble to ensure the Greg Murphy/Richie Stanaway Bathurst 1000 wildcard goes ahead.

Brodie Kostecki, Erebus Motorsport Holden

Brodie Kostecki, Erebus Motorsport Holden

Edge Photographics

The Holden squad is set to field three cars at the Great Race in November, its regular entries joined by a sensational wildcard for Bathurst legend Greg Murphy and Supercars outcast Richie Stanaway.

However, with both Murphy and Stanaway based in New Zealand, the ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks in Sydney and Melbourne have potentially thrown a spanner in the works.

New Zealand closed its end of the travel bubble to Australia last month, with a reopening not due to even come under review until next month.

Even then it seems highly unlikely quarantine-free travel will resume, particularly with New South Wales given the state is currently recording 600-plus positive cases per day.

Adding to the complication is a recent outbreak in NZ that was imported from Sydney, which has seen the existing element of the bubble – quarantine free travel from NZ to Australia – now paused as well.

Speaking to the official Supercars website, Erebus CEO Barry Ryan admitted the entry is hanging on the bubble being reinstated before the November 4-7 Bathurst 1000.

However he said preparations will continue as normal for the third entry in the hopes that the situation will improve and Murphy and Stanaway will be able to make the trip across the Tasman.

"Yeah definitely," said Ryan when asked if the bubble needs to be open for the wildcard plan to work.

"Unless we can get exemptions, which I don't think is going to happen.

"The bubble is supposed to open on the 17th of September but I can't see that happening. New Zealand has got cases now, so it's all up in the air.

"But we're just planning like it's a perfect world at the moment and hoping that the calendar that we've got in place stays in place and that we can get Murph and Richie over here for a bit of testing."

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Stanaway hasn't raced a Supercar since the end of the 2019 season when he walked away from motor racing off the back of two tough seasons down under.

He did make a comeback of sorts back in June this year with an outing in a V8-powered Toyota Camry at Pukekohe.

Murphy, meanwhile, hasn't raced in Supercars since his last stint as a Holden Racing Team enduro driver back in 2014.

The Murphy/Stanaway entry is one of two wildcards entered for this year's Great Race alongside the Supercheap Auto-backed, Triple Eight-run car for Russell Ingall and Broc Feeney.

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