On Thursday, Road To Le Mans had two qualifying sessions – a unique feature of the second Le Mans Cup round. The first invited the Pros to set down their best time and determine the starting grid for Race 1, followed by a second session with the Am drivers to organise the grid for Race 2. Car #23 took the best result of the day with P2 for Wayne Boyd - missing out on pole position by just five tenths of a second - followed by P5 in the #20 car for Andy Meyrick ... and two solid top-five starts for the United team.
Race 1 started well with Wayne Boyd in the #23 taking the lead on the first lap – however, safety cars limited his ability to pull away from the field. In the #20, Andy Meyrick suffered a big crash after contact with the #97 – thankfully, after a short visit to the medical centre, he was released. Extensive damage to the car, however, meant that Meyrick and Schneider’s Le Mans experience came to an early finish with #20 officially retiring from Race 2.
Friday morning – Race 2, and another strong start with Wayne Boyd in the #23 storming from P23 to P2 in four laps. In the #21, Jim McGuire and former Le Mans winner Guy Smith made good progress, starting P33 and finishing P18. The highlight, however, was the performance of the #22 with Gerry Kraut and Scott Andrews gaining more than 20 positions in 55 minutes, weaving up the field from P27 to P5.
Now it’s over to our Road To Le Mans drivers …
QUALI 1 P5 | QUALI 2 P25
RACE 1 DNF | RACE 2 DNS
Daniel Schneider: “I love Le Mans. The circuit, the atmosphere and the vibe but boy, sometimes the place and motorsport can be cruel. Andy and I had the package to achieve a good result, but things didn’t go our way. It’s a shame we couldn’t get out in the second race but that was no fault of United’s – the team did everything they could.”
Andy Meyrick: “We had strong pace in the practice sessions. Really good qualifying. Daniel did a strong job in his opening stint of Race 1 and handed over the car to me in a good position. Excellent pit-stop and I was fighting for the win. So I was really disappointed to be hit by #97 and not be able to fight for victory. The team tried very hard to get us out into Race 2, but it wasn’t to be. Shame for the guys and shame for Daniel.”
QUALI 1 P38 | QUALI 2 P33
RACE 1 P35 | RACE 2 P18
Jim McGuire: “I have had a whole lot of fun this week. It was crazy out there. We started last on Thursday and then 35 minutes of run time was actually on green … we made up positions and had a blast doing it. It was just fun watching it all … and then repeating it all the next day.”
Guy Smith: “It is great to be back at Le Mans. It is always an eventful race … quite hard racing with 58 cars on track, but it is always exciting. Jim and I came here to have fun, and for Jim to drive the circuit is a great experience. It would have been nice to finish a little bit higher up, but I made it difficult for us in qualifying … although in some respects, starting further back on the grid perhaps wasn’t such a bad thing. It has been a really enjoyable weekend, with some good battles along the way.”
QUALI 1 P14 | QUALI 2 P28
RACE 1 P11 | RACE 2 P5
Gerald Kraut: “Of course racing at Le Mans is special. It’s a privilege. There are always a lot of yellows, or safety cars or yellow zones, but my job was to avoid the accidents in both races, which I did, and bring the car back in position for Scott to do well. And he did! He got a top-10 so we are very happy.”
Scott Andrews: “It is always a great experience to be back at Le Mans, especially with a team with such great history of this track like United Autosports. We chased top speed all weekend … in Race 1, we were quick in sectors one and three but not quite there on the straights. So we made some changes for Race 2 and they paid off. Gerry did a great job and handed me the car in a competitive position. We started 28th and finished fifth. A great result.”
QUALI 1 P2 | QUALI 2 P23
RACE 1 P13 | RACE 2 P19
John Schauerman: “It’s been incredible to drive at Le Mans again … an absolute blast. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the results we wanted. Wayne qualified P2 for race 1 and started that race with the plan to pull away from the Ams and hand the car over to me in a good position. But a Safety Car during his stint negated his advantage and the same occurred in Race 2. In both instances, I took over from Wayne near the front but had the faster Pro drivers coming past me. United gave us a mega car.”
Wayne Boyd: “Obviously not the results we wanted … but I absolutely do not regret the roll of the dice on strategy. The car was very, very good. From a personal point of view, I absolutely loved my first stint in race two, going from 23rd to second despite all of the slow zones. It was so enjoyable and fun to do. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks to the team as always.”
Charlie Kemp: “Road To Le Mans has delivered real highs and lows for our driver teams this year – Wayne Boyd was so close to getting pole in the first Qualifying session … we could have had it, which proves just how fast our cars are around the challenging Circuit de la Sarthe. Andy Meyrick had a nasty crash in Race 1 so we're really glad he’s okay. In Race 2, Jim and Guy did a great job picking off the field, and to finish off with that run from P28 to P5 for Scott and Gerry was fantastic to see.”
That’s all for the 2023 edition of Road To Le Mans – but we’re far from finished at Circuit de le Sarthe. Today, the centenary of the 24 Hours of Le Mans kicks off at 16:00 (CEST), with two United cars vying for the win. Stay up to date with the team on social @unitedautosports.