It may be school vacation time for most of Matt McMurry’s high-school classmates back in Phoenix, but for the 16-year-old Dyson Racing Junior Development Program driver summer school continues, most recently this past weekend with the running of the European Le Mans Series 4 Hours of Red Bull Ring. McMurry, who last month became the youngest driver ever to start the 24 Hours of Le Mans, racked up more valuable seat time as he and his teammates, Tom Kimber-Smith and Mark Patterson took their Greaves Motorsports Caterham Zytek Z11SN – Nissan LMP2 entry to a sixth-place overall finish.
“This was a really hard-fought race for us and for just all the teams,” McMurry said, following a final-hour battle to the checker between two-time Le Mans winner Kimber-Smith and ex-F1 driver Christian Klien in the Newblood by Morand Racing Morgan Judd, with Kimber-Smith coming up less than two seconds shy.
The race for first place went to the Signatech Alpine Nissan with Paul Loup Chatin behind the wheel over the Jota Sport Zytek Nissan of Harry Tincknell.
“It felt like I was racing hard against someone or another every lap I was in the car,” McMurry continued. “In the end we finished where we started, which in other circumstances would be disappointing. But in this case I’d say it was a fair result.”
McMurry noted that his Greaves team was one of the five still in the hunt for the season championship and predicted the title would come down to the final race of the season at Estoril, Spain in October. “In the meantime, I’m really looking forward to the next race at Paul Ricard (Le Castellet, France). It’s the only track I’ve driven on before, and that will be an advantage. The ELMS has turned out to be an unbelievably competitive and great place to learn, so I’m grateful to Chris Dyson and Dyson Racing for making this all possible.”
Kimber-Smith admitted a bit of disappointment at the final result of his 40-minute late-race duel with Klein, but said he still enjoyed their close battle.
“You always want to win,” Kimber-Smith said, “but it was fun racing with Christian. We both fought fair and it couldn’t have been much closer. I just came up a bit short today.
“And I think this was a good day for Matt as well. I’ve been quite impressed with how he’s come along over the season so far. He’s been quick from the start and his judgment and maturity have increased every race.”
The team’s next outing is September 13-14 at Paul Ricard. According to Chris Dyson, McMurry’s teammates for the final two races of the season have yet to be determined. “We’re grateful to Mark (Patterson) for standing in for me in Austria. But Tom has conflicts for the these final two races and we’re evaluating qualified drivers to team with Matt.”