Cheshire racing driver Andy Meyrick put in a dominating performance in his home round of the Blancpain Endurance Series to record his first win in the championship, and the first victory for the new Continental GT3 with team M-Sport Bentley. After a hard-fought three-hour race, the chequered flag fell with the Continental GT3 taking Bentley’s first race win since the 2003 24 Hours of Le Mans, and Andy returned to the top step of the podium with fellow British racers Guy Smith and Steven Kane.
Andy drove the middle stint of the race with a stunning performance that meant that the team could fight for victory. After a strong start by Guy Smith but an unfortunate drive-through penalty for improving sector times under yellow flags, the car pitted from 7th position. Lightning-fast work from the M-Sport Bentley pit crew meant Andy rejoined the race in 5th, and he was instantly the fastest drive on the circuit. Within five laps Andy had climbed to 3rd place, at which point he set about closing the 27-second gap to 2nd. By lap 51 he’d caught the second-placed McLaren of Grégoire Demoustier, and a fantastic overtaking move in to Brooklands Corner saw him take the position. Two laps later, Andy handed the car over to Steven Kane after what the commentary team called “the drive of the race”, and from there Steven was able to snatch the lead from the McLaren of Andy Soucek before the #7 Continental GT3 scored its maiden win at only its second competition race.
Speaking after the race, Andy commented:
“I’m absolutely over the moon. It’s been an incredible weekend, and as a team we put in a great performance today. With the rain on Saturday we didn’t know how good our dry-weather pace would be, but after qualifying we knew we would be strong. In the race, the Continental GT3 was just awesome – the best it’s ever been – and we found that we could push it harder and harder to close gaps and pass cleanly. Those last few laps with Steven in the lead were unbearable though – I couldn’t watch! Standing at the top of the podium with Guy and Steven felt very special, and to do it with a British brand at the home of British motorsport was the icing on the cake.
“I’m extremely proud of the performance of the entire team. All the guys at M-Sport Bentley have worked so hard for the last few months in developing the car and getting used to circuit racing, and this result is testament to their effort. Our pit-stop times are so much faster than they were at Monza, and as a team we’re really pulling together. I can’t wait to get back in the car at Paul Ricard in a month.”
The third round of the Blancpain Endurance Series, where Andy will once again race with Steven and Guy, takes place on 28th June at the French circuit of Paul Ricard.