wpe337.jpg (10433 bytes) 2010 International & Single Seater News

News of young WRDA members who are competing in the International & Single Seater arena.

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Andy gears up for Le Mans drive with Oreca!

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Stop Press Andy Meyrick preveiws Le Mans on The Back Page on BBC Radio Wales - Link via your pc to http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/radiowales/ & Listen to his radio interview which gives a fantastic insight into the preparation for the race

WRDA member Andy Meyrick, from Swansea, Wales top young racing driver, becomes the first Welshman to enter in the top prototype class when he makes his debut in the 24 Hours of Le Mans – the most famous motor race in the world and the jewel in the crown of international sports car racing. Although other Welsh drivers have competed at Le Mans before, they have been little more than amateur efforts, however Andy will be a part of the driving team driving the French Oreca OM1 sportscar powered by a British Judd V10 engine, in this, the 78th running of the race.

Apart from the obvious challenge of avoiding the pitfalls of a 24 hour endurance race, and getting the car to end of the race, getting any sort of a result will be formidable task as Meyrick and his team mates, experienced French aces, Soheil Ayari and Didier André, will be up against diesel powered entries from Audi & Peugeot, in a race that potentially favours the diesel cars, and Lola Aston Martins and the Ginneta Zytex of F1 World Champion Nigel Mansell & his sons Greg & Leo, all of whom will be directly competing against Meyrick and his team-mates.

Although Meyrick has gained some endurance racing experience recently this is only his 3rd season in top flight racing. The 24-year-old shot to prominence in 2008 in the prestigious British F3 Championship, where he scored 7 wins and nine pole positions in twelve races. He then got some experience of endurance racing in 2009 with the Kolles Audi R10 TDI in a series of 6 hour races and, more recently, in America with Dyson Racing in their Mazda-powered Lola B09/86 coupé, which he drove in the 12 hours of Sebring, and leading the last race during his stint.

Andy said "To do Le Mans for the first time with such a well-known and respected team as ORECA is just like a dream. I’d like to thank Hugues de Chaunac for giving me the opportunity to compete at Le Mans with one of the most iconic teams in the business."

wpe2C.jpg (31436 bytes)Hugues de Chaunac, boss of ORECA has achieved a worldwide legendary status and has even been awarded Frances’ highest honour, the Legion d'Honneur; for his services to racing. De Chaunac formed ORECA in 1972 and over the years has been responsible for the early development of a string of young drivers, including several Grand Prix winners and 4 times Formula One World Champion Alain Prost. ORECA has won the Le Mans 24 Hours and countless other endurance races over the years and is one of the most successful racing teams in existence. Over the years the company diversified and is now a huge and successful company. "Le Mans is the most prestigious race there is for a sports car driver; it’s the biggest race you can do and certainly the biggest I will have done so far. I feel I’m coming of age now," continues Andy, "and starting to make strides forward with my driving and my car race craft. I’m ready and prepared for it. I’ve done some testing at the Paul Ricard track in the south of France with ORECA and will bring some experience with me from America of the Dunlop tyres on we’ll be using, so that helps. There are 18 cars entered in our class and we will all be looking to win. It will certainly be tough, but it’s a great opportunity for the team to show case the car and for me to contribute to that."

While in France recently, Meyrick was able to visit the hugely impressive ORECA facilities at Signes near Toulon. "I was blown away," he said afterwards. "It’s an amazing place, with some fantastic people working there, and it’s super impressive. Aside from their racing, they make a lot of parts for many major motor manufacturers as well as supplying lots of smaller racing teams, but Le Mans is their main focus for the year."

In the past few weeks , Andy has been ramping up his training to get himself into peak physical fitness with his fitness trainer, Richard Chessman, concentrating on increased lower body work to build up leg strength in order to cope with the longer and harder braking required at Le Mans, and a lot more swimming and rowing for endurance. "I’ve been on a massive fitness programme, and I feel fit and well prepared. My plan now is to rest as much as possible. I know a race like this can sap your energy. Oreca have been helping and I will be on the Wirth Research simulator on Thursday to familiarise myself with the track," says Andy, "I hope that gives me an advantage when I get out on the track. I’ve got two good team mates in Soheil Ayari and Didier André who have both done the race several times, and the team and the environment around it brings you along as a driver. It’s a very cool environment to work in. Oreca will be using Dunlop tyres for the first time this year and as I’ve already raced on Dunlop tyres I hope to make a big contribution to the team." The event starts in earnest on Wednesday with the first qualifying sessions. The 2nd Qualifying is on Thursday. On Friday the drivers attend the traditional parade through the packed streets of Le Mans town as the atmosphere builds up before the race starts at 3.00 pm on Saturday with a crowd in excess of 250,000 expected.

Live Commentary from Radio Le mans http://rlm08.0157.org



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