United Autosports is laying the foundations for a two-car entry in the 2016 European Le Mans Series (ELMS). The Anglo-American team, with ambitions to ultimately contest the Le Mans 24 Hours, will contest the LM P3 category with a brace of Ginetta-Nissan sportscars.
The team, based in Leeds, England, and created in 2009 by Zak Brown and Richard Dean, already has two Ginetta chassis on order and expect to take delivery of one car from near neighbours Ginetta next month. United Autosports plans to undertake a concerted test programme this summer before contesting the final round of this year’s ELMS at Estoril (POR) on 18 October.
This will be the ambitious team’s first step towards racing in the Le Mans 24 Hours, the most famous sportscar race in the world and the centrepiece of the FIA World Endurance Championship. Brown and Dean, both successful entrepreneurs and international racing drivers, have led United Autosports into a variety of championships during the past six years racing a diversity of machinery including Audi, McLaren and Toyota cars.
Specifically the FIA GT3 European Championship, British GT Championship, Intercontinental Le Mans Cup, GT Cup Championship, British Touring Car Championship and Ginetta GT4 SuperCup. Prestigious race appearances around the world include the Macau GT Cup, Spa and Dubai 24 Hour races plus the Gulf and Bathurst 12 Hour events. Additionally United Autosports, with Michael Shank Racing, ran a Ford-Riley in a four-race 2011 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series programme and also had a one-off American Le Mans Series race in association with OAK Racing the same year.
Drivers that have represented UA in addition to Brown and Dean, include Matt Bell (GB), Mark Blundell (GB), Martin Brundle (GB), Eddie Cheever (US), Ryan Dalziel (GB), Michael Guasch (US), Johnny Herbert (GB), Stefan Johansson (SWE), Arie Luyendyk (NL), Joe Osborne (GB), Álvaro Parente (POR), Mark Patterson (US), Michael Valiante (US) and Danny Watts (GB).
This year United Autosports is defending its GT Cup Championship title and competes with a range of rare Formula One and other racing cars in historic events globally. US is also the reigning Ginetta GT4 SuperCup Teams’ champions.
Lawrence Tomlinson, Chairman, Ginetta Cars:“I’m delighted that my good friends Richard Dean, Zak Brown and their United Autosports team are joining Ginetta on their path towards the Le Mans 24 Hours. The Ginetta-Nissan LM P3 sportscar has added another rung to the Ginetta motorsport ladder. The ever growing demand from world-renowned teams, such as United Autosports, shows the quality of the new LM P3 category.”
Zak Brown, Chairman, United Autosports:“The new LM P3 category is a great concept and the ideal starting point for United Autosports to begin our dream journey to the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours. The European Le Mans Series is going from strength to strength while the collaboration between the Automobile Club de l'Ouest [ACO], the Le Mans organising club, and the IMSA sanctioned Tudor United Sportscar Championships, means there could also be opportunities to race in North America. Ginetta has done a brilliant job in being a driving force in the development of LM P3 category and I am very excited with our latest programme.”
Richard Dean, Team Owner and Managing Director, United Autosports:“The timing is right for us to make the move to sports-prototypes and the hugely popular and ultra-competitive European Le Mans Series. The Ginetta LM P3 car provides the perfect opportunity for teams and drivers and is a fantastically affordable racing car. This, along with our relationship with Ginetta and the fact that they are based next door to us in Garforth near Leeds, makes it an easy choice. We believe ELMS will continue to flourish and so are delighted to be in there early and be in a position to talk with interested drivers and plan for next year.”