Tasman Motorsport will become Sydney's sole V8 Supercar team this season, after businessman Kevin Murphy reached an agreement with the Lansvale Racing Team to buy half of its holdings.

Lansvale part-owners Steve Reed and Trevor Ashby will continue their involvement in the new team, forming half of a four-man board along with Murphy - father of V8 Supercar driver Greg Murphy and owner of a team that runs three Porsches in the Carrera Cup Series - and corporate adviser Tim Miles.

The new board has moved quickly to secure former Team Dynamik driver Jason Richards, who joins Tasman as its sole driver on a multi-year contract, while Jon Matthews - the former general manager of Ford Performance Racing - has joined Tasman Motorsport to assist with the set-up and day-to-day operations.

Holden Motorsport has agreed to support the new venture, pledging to supply the team's engines in 2004. Several sponsorship deals will carry over from the Lansvale operation, with negotiations ongoing for additional sponsors.

Lansvale crew chief Wally Storey will continue to head the team's race-day operations, with the majority of his 2003 crew returning along with several new additions to further strengthen the team's manpower and capability.

"We're delighted with the way in which things have pulled together," Murphy said on the completion of the deal this week, "We have retained all the knowledge and experience of the Lansvale operation while bringing in a proven driver in Jason and an immediate increase in competitiveness with the Holden Motorsport engines.

"Add in the expertise that Jon Matthews brings directly from a three-car factory team, and it all adds up to the fact that we're not here to punt around at the back of the field. This will be a seriously competitive team which we're establishing with long-term viability in mind."

Reed said he was delighted to welcome the Murphy consortium to the existing operation.

"It's really a win-win situation which Trevor and I are very pleased with," he admitted, "We've been getting our hands dirty in this game for a long time now and it's a good time for us to stand back a bit while still being involved at a decision-making level. The future for this operation is looking very bright and we will definitely enjoy being a part of its success."

The reborn operation will also move its testing base to Oran Park as part of an ongoing development programme, following a successful stint at Eastern Creek.

Tasman Motorsport is currently preparing its first VY Commodore - the same model that Richards drove for the entire 2003 season - and Murphy said he hoped the car would make its on-track debut early in the 2004 season.

"We'll be going flat-out to get it to the line in time, but we might have to run a VX Commodore - with a Holden Motorsport engine - over the first round or two," he said.



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