With its first season in the Blancpain Endurance Series in the books, Bentley’s Andy Meyrick has reflected on a year where the M-Sport team overachieved and nearly won the championship in its first crack.
The Englishman was part of the “Bentley Boys” British trio in the team’s No. 7 Bentley Continental GT3, and won twice with Guy Smith and Steven Kane at Silverstone and Paul Ricard en route to finishing second in the championship.
Meyrick said this was a clear case of exceeding expectations.
“If I’m honest, I didn’t see this coming,” Meyrick told Sportscar365. “Although we have a very strong team, car, and package, you always to have to look at the first year as a learning and development year.
“We hadn’t done any of the circuits, we hadn’t tested there. It was a completely new concept to Bentley as well, going GT3 racing. M-Sport had never done circuit racing. Add them all together and you had to take a realistic view.”
With podiums serving as Meyrick’s personal goal entering the season, to then get the pair of wins in succession showcased how far they’d come so quickly.
“To win twice, to finish our first 24-hour race and to come second in the championship, is incredible,” he said. “And then to have the possibility of having a shot was surreal; it’s not like WRT ran away with it.
“I’m amazed really, and delighted at what we put into it. We’ve left ourselves a bit of a challenge to go one better, but we’ll work out what we need to do for that.”
The Continental’s maiden voyage in last year’s Gulf 12 Hours at Abu Dhabi proved a pivotal point in the team and car’s development, Meyrick said.
“Having the six-hour races really helped us,” Meyrick said. “To go there the first time, see other competitors and where we were against our rivals, in a competitive race but low-key, low-pressure environment was perfect.
“From an operational side of things, looking back on it now, it was absolutely vital. We did the one race, had a good few months of down time to put everything into place, then started in Monza.
“Because Blancpain is so competitive, the way the weekends are formatted, you don’t have time to react. We were able to put ourselves in such a strong position at the outset, and Abu Dhabi was vital in that.”
Meyrick also spoke highly of how well he gelled with Smith and Kane.
“It was fantastic; we all click and work well together,” he said. “Our individual strengths all complement each other. We got the best out of ourselves and each other. To get the first victory in the modern era of ‘Bentley Boys’ was pretty cool.”
For 2015, Meyrick is expected to focus primarily on his Bentley commitments, while also possible to continue with the DeltaWing, which he has raced in its North American events over the last two years.