Bentley Race Review from 24 Hours of Spa 2015
Despite showing race-winning potential at 24 Hours of Spa this weekend, the two Continental GT3s of Bentley Team M-Sport were both forced to retire from the endurance marathon. However, car number 84, driven by Bentley Team HTP, successfully completed the race, placing 5th in class.
The opening hours of the race were run in extremely wet conditions, and, unfortunatley the bad luck started early. Bentley Team M-Sport's cars were forced to pit under several long safety car periods, only to be held at the end of the pit lane each time – costing minutes at a time, costing Bentley serveral places, with car 7 finding itself in 32nd place. However, both cars utilised impressive pace, frequently setting the fastest lap times of any car in the field, to climb up the order and back in to the top 20.
During the evening, however, Andy Meyrick was forced off the track into the wet grass, losing control of the car and hitting the barrier, forcing him to retire from the race. Andy was taken to a local hospital for medical checks, but has been given the all-clear.
Car number 8 continued, alternating between 2nd and 5th place. As dawn approached, a sudden electrical failure left drive Maxi Bukh stranded on-track and Bentley Team M-Sport were forced to resign to their first ever double-retirement.
Bentley’s Director of Motorsport, Brian Gush, comments:
“We came to Spa hoping to cement our very strong championship positions, and while we fought back from some extremely bad luck with safety car interventions, the cars were frequently the quickest on the track. We had the pace but we just didn’t have the luck. The important facts are that Andy Meyrick is totally fine after his accident, and we know we can be competitive here again.
The whole team is bitterly disappointed with the result, but we’ll try again next year with renewed energy. As always, we’ll focus on finding out what went wrong, learn from it and get ready for the next event.”
Driver of car 7, Bentley boy Guy Smith adds:
“It wasn’t our day today. My stint was in very difficult conditions – it was incredibly wet at the start and I struggled for traction, which cost me a few places. The car continually got better as the laps went by, but through pitting under the safety cars we lost huge amounts of time. That put us back well out of the top 20, but Steven gained some time back and Andy was doing the same. While it’s a shame not to score good points here, we’re all just glad that Andy is OK after what was a significant impact.”
Maxi Buhk, who was behind the wheel of car 8 when it suffered electrical failure, says he still enjoyed his time on track:
“I was actually really enjoying the race. I love driving here, it’s my favourite race of the season and we were doing really well. We’d been in the top five for several hours and we felt confident that we could maintain our pace to the end. Coming out of Eau Rouge I lost all electrical power and I couldn’t restart the car. It’s the first time we’ve ever had a failure like this and we’ll work out what went wrong.”
The next race for Bentley Team M-Sport is the final round of the 2015 Blancpain Endurance Series, the three-hour race at the Nurburgring over the weekend of 19th-20th September.
To read more about the Bentley Team M-Sport and HTP Blancpain Season 2015 click here.