A CHESTER motorsport ace has got behind the wheel to drive forward a new multimillion-pound Formula One film directed by Ron Howard.
Andy Meyrick, 26, of Delamere, has joined other professional motor racers at Blackbushe Airport, near Reading, for the filming of Rush, a dramatic retelling of the 1976 title battle between Britain’s James Hunt and Austria’s Niki Lauda.
The season is remembered most for Lauda’s fiery crash in Germany’s Nordschleife, where he nearly lost his life, but defied the odds to return to racing action just six weeks later.
Former King’s School Chester pupil Andy, whose career highlight to date was finishing fourth in the Le Mans 24 Hours race in 2010, has this week been part of the recreation of the 1976 season finale, the Japanese Grand Prix.
Andy said: “I have been listed with various motorsport contacts, so I was able to get a part in this film, which is a big project.
“I have never done anything like this before, being part of a film set, although I have driven historic Formula One cars before with my dad as an aside to my motor racing career.
“It’s quite special as normally when I’m driving I don’t get to enjoy what I’m doing as I’m too busy focusing on getting a result, but in these cars it’s a bit more relaxed.
“I am driving the March 761 F1 car which was driven by Vittorio Brambilla in 1976.
“We are at Blackbushe Airport but we are actually recreating the Fuji circuit. I have seen the original footage of that race and it was treacherous. It was where Lauda, who was still recovering from his injury, pulled into the pits after one lap.
“All the extras are getting soaked on the film set but we the drivers have been keeping dry!”
Andy has also had the chance to speak to director Ron Howard.
“I had dinner with him and we had a good chat. He is a really knowledgeable guy and is keen to learn all about the sport and get that attention to detail he had when he was making Apollo 13.
“I have invited him to this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours race.”
Andy added he will be kept busy for the next few weeks as the new motorsport season dawns.
“I am going to Sebring in the USA for a 12-hour Le Mans race and we will be filming next week in the Nordschleife circuit, which is a unique track where I won a couple of races last year.”
Rush is due out in cinemas next year.