Belfast Telegraph

Wayne Boyd relishing belated return to the big time at European Le Mans sportscar series

By Sammy Hamill

Wayne Boyd will head to the south of France later this month to begin the second phase of his motor racing career.

It has taken too long but finally Boyd has got the break he deserves and will drive in the European Le Mans sportscar series for the United Autosports team.

Once the most talented and successful Formula Ford driver since Eddie Irvine, Boyd has been effectively sidelined for much of the past five years.

The Templepatrick driver swept all before him in 2008 when, just 17, he won the British FF1600 championship and the Brands Hatch Festival.

A step up to Formula Three proved premature and although Boyd won in the wet at Donington, his burgeoning career came to a stop through a lack of funding. In 2011 he had the opportunity to race in the US FF2000 series, winning in Milwaulkee and Baltimore, and finishing third in the championship.

Since then he has made just a handful of one-off appearances, returning to Formula Ford to win the Walter Hayes Trophy at Silverstone in 2014 and then repeating his Brands Hatch Festival victory last season.

Only now has he been given the chance to contest a major European series, joining United Autosports for an ELMS championship which will see Boyd drive at circuits like Imola and Spa as well as Silverstone. He will be part of a two-car team, partnering Mark Patterson and Matt Bell in a prototype-class Ligier JS for the four-hour races.

The team will begin testing at Le Castellet in France towards the end of the month with the first race at Silverstone in mid-April.

Boyd says he is "absolutely delighted" to get the chance to join a top team like Leeds-based United Autosports.

"I'm so grateful for the opportunity. I've always followed the ELMS and wanted to be a part of it, especially in prototypes," said the former Belfast Telegraph Young Sports Star of the Year winner.

Anglo-American United team boss Richard Dean explained that he has always been a fan of Boyd and wanted to give him a chance to resurrect his career.

"Wayne has got bags of natural talent and we had a little bit of funding for the third seat, so rather than go for a safe bet, I decided to give him a chance," said Dean, who revealed that Boyd had impressed during a two-day test at Magny-Cours last month and again at Donington Park in dry conditions on Thursday.

"We took him to Magny-Cours with no deal in place and he showed great ability. It was really a formality and we signed the deal straight afterwards."

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