Andy Meyrick made his debut this past weekend at the challenging Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca track, and not only enjoyed his first experience of leading a major international sports car race but also came away from the six hour event with a second 2010 American Le Mans Series podium finish.
Driving alongside Dyson Racing regulars, Chris Dyson and Guy Smith, in the Mazda-powered Lola B09/86 coupe, Meyrick and his team mates were hoping to be able to fully capitalize on the pole position gained by Yorkshire man Smith on Friday. The slippery and unseasonably cold California track wasn’t, however, to offer such an easy ride for the stalwart ALMS team.
Chris Dyson started the car and settled into a comfortable top-three pace, handing the car over to Andy an hour into the race. The 24-year-old maintained that competitive pace, matching the leader’s lap times and led laps 97-113. A stop to replace a damaged nose at the three-hour mark put the car down a lap and, although able to make up that deficit and once again lead the race, their race cruelly came to a premature end when the car stopped on course twenty-five minutes from the end with mechanical problems. As more than 75 percent of the race had been completed, Dyson Racing was classified and Meyrick, Dyson and Smith claimed their third place finish.
Andy explained what happened leading up to the unscheduled pit stop, an incident which he found hard to put into words. “I was on tyres which had done a double stint and made a simple mistake as I went into the last corner before the pit straight which pushed me wide and then into the path of another car. I can’t really put it into words how it happened as I’m still so disappointed in myself, and up until that point I’d had a really strong and trouble-free run.
“I was really enjoying the time in the car, and was very relaxed behind the wheel. The Mazda-powered Lola was excellent in traffic, much better than some of our competitors it seemed, and I was very happy with my overall performance apart from that one corner; it was the perfect drive I’d been working towards all year. We were very quick in all the sessions and, to be able to finish third after nine pit stops, showed the outright performance of the car.”
Dyson Racing’s Team Principal, Rob Dyson, was keen to back up Andy’s performance in California. "Andy did a great job in the race. He showed terrific composure out in front and his lap times kept the Highcroft team in check throughout his stint. He's got a high level of maturity and he's shown that he's learning quickly. Mazda Raceway is by no means the easiest place to learn and he got right with the program this weekend. We are looking forward to having him back in the car at the Petit Le Mans."
The six hour race is just part of a very busy few weeks for the emerging sports car star, culminating in his debut for the French ORECA team at the 24 Hours of Le Mans on 12/13th June.