Motorsport UK Academy team finished sixth at Petit Le Mans
Motorsport UK Academy coach Andy Meyrick and Team UK driver Tom Gamble finished sixth in the LMP3 class for United Autosports at the Motul Petit Le Mans last weekend (13 November) after 10 hours of racing.
The LMP3 team started the weekend well as Andy and Tom’s teammate Niklas Kruetten stuck the #2 Ligier JS P320 on the front row in pole position. Niklas made the perfect start at lights out, stretching out a good lead during his opening stint. Unfortunately, after being tagged, the #2 car was sent spinning into the barrier while comfortably leading the race and had to stop.
Andy took over the wheel for his stint after the pit stop repairs but suffered terribly with the car’s handling due to the sustained damage, and the car once again returned to the garage for further work. After switching the nose during the pit stop to improve handling, Tom took the reins, and the team were able to get back on the lead lap. But moments later suffered from a mechanical issue which meant returning to the pits for almost two hours to diagnose and fix the problem.
After completing his mandatory driving time, Niklas handed the car back to Andy, who then gave Tom the wheel to finish the Motul Petit Le Mans in sixth place.
Andy said: “Of course, it was disappointing in terms of the result having led the race for so long, but from a team point of view, we showed a solid performance and strong pace right from the start of the week. It is undoubtedly one of the toughest endurance races in the world to be successful at so, to be quick from the off is a real achievement. It was a delight to work with Tom – I’ve been fortunate to work with some excellent teammates in my career, and I would consider Tom one of the best. He’s top drawer in his approach off circuit, and he is very professional. Behind the wheel, he’s very quick – you can see why he is such a talented driver! It was a new circuit for him, and he got up to speed very quickly and did a great job all week.”
Tom said: “It was an incredible experience to race in Petit Le Mans. The atmosphere was terrific, with thousands and thousands of fans present, and the track was awesome to drive too! The weekend started well with Niklas, our teammate, getting pole for us. Then we led for the first two hours before suddenly having contact lapping a back-marker, which caused a lot of damage to the car. That put us on the back foot a little bit, but we managed to get back onto the lead lap and into P3. But sadly, we had a fuel pump issue, which caused us to lose laps that we couldn’t get back. Once that happened, we just had to get back out there and finish the last few hours of the race.
“It was a shame because we definitely could have fought for the win, but these things happen! It was a great experience, and it was great to work with Andy as well. It would have been nice to get the win with him on our debut weekend together, but he was a great help for me as he had raced at the circuit before and raced on American rules, so he was always on standby if I needed any help. It would be great to be his teammate again. Hopefully, I can get a few more races in America next year, and I’d like to thank United Autosports for the opportunity.”
Head to the United Autosports’ website for more information.
Images: United Autosports Flickr