CHESTER motorsport ace Andy Meyrick will be the driving force behind cutting-edge racing technology this season.
This weekend, the 27-year-old will be driving at the Laguna Seca circuit in California, USA, behind the wheel of the most innovative racer to hit the sport in years. Likened to the Michael Keaton-era Batmobile, the DeltaWing is a super lightweight machine with an unusually narrow front end.
After the car turned heads when it made its debut at last year’s Le Mans 24 Hours, Meyrick secured a last-minute deal to drive the Elan-powered DeltaWing to compete in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS).
The former King’s School and Helsby High pupil, speaking exclusively to the Chronicle, explained what it was like to drive.
He said: “It’s a new concept, requiring half the fuel, half the tyre degradation. The front tyres give me feel and I get good feedback, but you have to think very differently when driving.
“It’s still early days for the project. Next year there will be a DeltaWing class in Le Mans and we are currently running between the LMP1 and LMP2 classes, so we just have to do our own programme.”
The Delamere racer will be joined in the ALMS by one of the fastest women in the world, former IndyCar racer Katherine Legge.
Meyrick said of his fellow British driver: “Despite what Sir Stirling Moss said about women drivers recently, Katherine is extremely talented. Sportscars will be different for her as she won’t be used to overtaking and lapping so many cars, but I have no doubt she will do well.”
Meyrick, whose most high-profile result to date was finishing fourth at the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2010, is also driving for Gulf Racing in the Blancpain Endurance Series in one of the new McLaren 12C GT3 cars.
“We have got our head around the cars pretty well,” said Meyrick, who will partner Gulf Racing team owner Mike Wainwright in the Pro-Am category of the championship.
“I am paired with a very talented driver, even though he isn’t a full-time racer. And the series is very competitive – there were 83 cars at last year’s race in Spa, and one of the hardest things is getting a clear lap in qualifying.
“I feel very lucky to be driving two of the most iconic cars around today.”
Aside from taking the wheel, Meyrick is also applying his knowledge and experience to train up-and-coming hotshot Seb Morris, an Abbey Gate College student who is leading the new British Formula 4 championship.
Meyrick said: “He had got in touch with me and we kept contact throughout his first Ginetta Juniors season. When I first met him he was this tiny 14-year-old – now he’s 6ft 2in! – and his dad was keen for me to help out.
“He had a meeting in Pembrey and with a bit of pointing in the right direction he won all three races. It’s lovely to see him grow as a driver.”
The ALMS Monterey four-hour race at Laguna Seca begins on Saturday at 3.30pm local time.