Matt McMurry, 16, tests with Bentley in Sebring before heading to Estoril
Dyson Racing development driver gets seat time in a production-based car.
On his way to Spain for this weekend’s final round of the 2014 European Le Mans Series, Dyson Racing Junior Development Program driver Matt McMurry stopped in at Sebring to test the Dyson Racing Team Bentley Continental GT3. McMurry (in photo, from a previous race) already has extensive experience in both open-wheel and sports-racing machinery, but the laps he turned Tuesday and Wednesday constituted McMurry’s first exposure to a production-based racecar.
"It was an amazing opportunity to drive the Bentley GT3, and to learn from everyone at Dyson, Bentley and drivers like Butch Leitzinger, Chris Dyson and Tom Kimber-Smith,” McMurry said following the test. “It was my first time in a GT3 car like this and the driving requirements are very different from my single-seater and prototype experience. I'm really glad to be adding different cars to my repertoire and can't wait to try it again."
McMurry’s sessions were part of a three-day off-season development test conducted by Dyson Racing Team Bentley. Chris Dyson, the team’s vice president and sporting director, oversaw McMurry’s test.
“Matt did a great job,” Dyson said, noting that the high-school junior was still a month shy of his 17th birthday, but performed with maturity beyond his years.
“All this season I’ve been impressed how level-headed Matt is, both on and off the track. So I wasn’t surprised that in testing the Bentley he took a very professional approach. He worked up to speed and took on board everything that Butch and Tom were telling him. Matt made progress every time out and by the end of the test he looked smooth, fast and comfortable in the car.”
'Nimble and responsive'
McMurry was impressed with how nimble and responsive the Bentley Continental GT3 was. “Based on having driven road cars on race tracks, I was expecting the Bentley to be kind of like that,” McMurry said. “I thought I’d make an input on the steering and the car would kind of wait to respond. And that I’d have to brake really early to the car slowed down for a corner. That wasn’t the case at all. You can really drive the Bentley aggressively and its responsiveness is excellent.”
Immediately following the Tuesday half of the test McMurry headed for the airport and his flight to Spain. Friday he’ll be in the #41 Greaves Motorsport LM P2 Zytek-Nissan for the opening practice for the 4 Hours of Estoril. McMurry currently ranks eighth in the driver point standings and is no longer in contention for the championship, he’s looking to match or better his best finish so far this season, fourth-place at both Silverstone and Imola.
“We’ve been so close to the podium twice this season,” McMurry said. “I’d like to be standing on it this time, and not just the bottom step.”
Dyson explained that one of the goals of the Junior Development program has been to give McMurry the chance to team with as many different drivers as possible. In addition to Kimber-Smith and Dyson, during the course of the ELMS season, McMurry has driven with Mark Patterson and Johnny Mowlem. At Estoril he’ll be sharing the Zytek-Nissan with Miguel Faisca and James Fletcher.
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