Thursday, December 9, 2010

United Autosports To Début In Rolex 24 Hours Of Daytona


·       1988 Daytona winner Martin Brundle tempted back into competition with former Le Mans 24 Hour race winner Mark Blundell
·       United Autosports’ Chairman & Co-Owner Zak Brown plus fellow American Mark Patterson completes “stellar” line-up
·       United Autosports teams up with Michael Shank Racing for Rolex 24


United Autosports gets its second year of racing underway in truly spectacular style by contesting the legendary Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona with a stellar driver line-up next month (January 29-30).

1988 Daytona 24 Hour race winner Martin Brundle (England) has been drawn back to the ultra-demanding Floridian race along with fellow former 24 Hours of Le Mans race winner and Grand Prix Formula One ace Mark Blundell (England) who makes his Daytona début.

Zak Brown, Chairman & Co-Owner of United Autosports, and fellow American Mark Patterson, complete the United Autosports with Michael Shank Racing entry which bids for success with a Ford-Riley Daytona Prototype in the 49th running of the world famous Daytona race.

All four drivers will attend the “Roar Before the Rolex 24”, the official three-day test at Daytona next month (January 7-9), to acclimatize themselves to the challenging 3.56-mile, 12-turn combined speedway road course.

United Autosports only turned its first race in April this year, competing in 17 races in Belgium (twice), China, Czech Republic, England (twice), France, Macau, Portugal and Spain. The Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona therefore marks the first race on “home” soil for the American-owned team.

Brundle has become a highly regarded and multi-award winning Formula One commentator on British television since retiring from a Formula One career spanning 13 years (1984-96) and 158 Grand Prix starts resulting in 10 podiums.

Martin contested the Le Mans 24 Hours four times (1997-99/01) after his F1 career having won at Le Mans in 1990. Indeed Brundle has made 67 sportscar race starts, including World Sports-Prototype/World Endurance Championships and IMSA events, claiming 34 podiums (including 18 wins) and 11 pole positions.

He has driven Jaguar, BMW Sauber, Red Bull and Williams F1 cars in recent years for media events. In 2005, Martin competed in the Andros Ice Trophy (Renault Megane) and in 2008 drove in the Formula Palmer Audi Championship alongside his son, Alex, who was a series regular. He scored three top-eight finishes from the three races in which he took part.

Martin raced in two rounds of the Scirocco R-Cup finishing third (Hockenheim) and seventh (Brands Hatch) this year plus three Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo races co-driving with Alex resulting in two top four finishes.

1992 Le Mans 24 Hour race winner Blundell raced in Formula One (1991/1993-95) comprising 61 GP starts and three podiums before switching to the CART World Series (1996-2000) which featured 81 starts and three wins (Portland, Toronto, & Fontana).

Daytona “rookie” Mark, who continues to run 2MB Sports Management which includes handling Indycar driver Mike Conway, also became a Formula One television analysist (2001-08) and raced in major sports car races at Le Mans and Sebring following his single-seater career. Blundell finished third in class in the 24 Hours of Spa this year co-driven by United Autosports Co-Owners Brown and Richard Dean (England) plus Eddie Cheever (USA) – Mark’s first race since finishing second in the 2003 Le Mans 24 Hours.

Ultra-successful businessman and entrepreneur Brown has concentrated on GT racing in recent years after starting off in karting before spells in Formulae Three and Opel Lotus, Indy Lights plus Toyota Atlantics.

Zak, who recorded a front row start and podium finish in FIA GT3 European Championship races in Portugal this year, fulfills a personal dream by adding a third Continent – his “home” one – to United Autosports’ burgeoning profile by contesting the Rolex 24 assisted by regular Grand Am entrant Michael Shank Racing.

Patterson is by far the most experienced of the quartet in terms of Grand Am racing, boasting 66 starts (GT & DP) comprising six podiums. Mark races in the twice-around-the-clock Daytona race for the eighth time and is looking to go one better after finishing second in 2006 – one of four top-nine finishes Mark has achieved – all with Michael Shank Racing.
  
Like Brown, Patterson has raced a United Autosports Audi R8 LMS in the FIA GT3 European Championship this year, placing joint second in the Audi Manufacturer’s Cup, and claiming fourth in class in the Spa 24 Hours.

The #23 United Autosports with Michael Shank Racing Ford-Riley entry topped the unofficial time sheets in a two-day open test at Homestead-Miami Speedway recently (Dec 1-2).


Mark Blundell (GB). Age: 44. Born: Barnet, England. Lives: Royston, England.
Daytona History: None. Daytona 24Hr: Début. Other 24Hr races: Le Mans, France (1989, 1990, 1992/1st, 1995/4th, 2001, 2002, 2003/2nd); Spa, Belgium (2010/3rd in class).

“The Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona is one of the most recognized races in the world and it will be my first attempt at this great event – I’ve never been to Daytona even as a spectator. I’d not driven a DP until last week at Homestead but it’s essentially similar to a Le Mans sports-prototype with much less downforce.

“The team and car has huge potential. This aligned with the fact that I will be co-driving with my very close friend, Martin Brundle, to finally fulfill a dream that the pair of us have had to drive the same car as part of the same team, is fantastic. The icing on the cake is that I will also be sharing driving duties with my good friends Mark [Patterson] and of course Zak [Brown].

“My last race in the US was the Sebring 12 Hours in 2003. Before I raced in the CART World Series [1996-2000], oval courses were alien to me coming from Europe although I enjoyed racing on them and won the Marlboro 500 at Fontana. I’ve not raced on a banked/infield combination like I’ll face at Daytona but I’m looking forward to that challenge. I raced with United Autosports in the 24 Hours of Spa last summer and Daytona is another of those very big races that, for whatever reason, I didn’t get a chance to do previously but am very excited to be doing so now.”


Zak Brown (USA). Age: 38. Born: Los Angeles, California, USA. Lives: Carmel, Indiana, USA.
Daytona History: Four 24Hr races. Daytona 24Hr: Début 1997. Number of Daytona 24Hr race appearances: 4. 1997/8th o/a, 2nd GTS, 1999, 2000 (GT), 2010 33rd/20th (GT). Other 24Hr races: BritCar, Silverstone, GB (2nd o/a, 1st in class); Spa, Belgium (2010/3rd in class).

“As chairman and co-owner of United Autosports, to have my team name on the entry list at the Daytona International Speedway for the legendary 24 Hour race is awesome. Twelve months ago our team didn’t exist. We made our race début at the end of April in Britain and in our first season we raced throughout Europe at legendary tracks like Silverstone and Spa-Francorchamps and last month in Asia at Zhuhai [China] and Macau as Audi’s official “customer” team in the GT3 sportscar category.

“So now to be racing in my native USA, at the world famous Speedway venue, in North America’s only twice around the clock motor race, makes me extremely proud in what we’ve accomplished in a very short space of time. It’s the first time Richard [Dean] and I have partnered with Michael Shank Racing. His team is first class and he’ll give us everything we need. Richard [Dean] will be ever present on the pit wall with the Michael Shank Racing boys to learn about Grand Am racing while our driver line-up is about as special as it can get.

“My first race at Daytona was in 1997 but I spend a lot of time there nowadays. I have an office in Daytona Beach and my company, Just Marketing International [JMI], has brought in sponsorship from UPS, Crown Royal and DirecTV to Daytona International Speedway. The 24 Hours will be my first ever race in a Daytona Prototype. I tested a Coyote DP earlier this year which was organized by Eddie Cheever, who drove for my team at Spa, and tested a Michael Shank Racing Ford-Riley at Homestead last week (Dec 1) with Mark. I can’t wait for the official test days and then the race week in January!”


Martin Brundle (GB). Age: 51. Born: King’s Lynn, Norfolk, England. Lives: Gayton, Norfolk, England.
Daytona History: Two 24Hr races. Daytona 24Hr: Début 1988. Number of Daytona 24Hr race appearances: 2. 1988: 1st (Jaguar XJR-9); 1990: 2nd (Jaguar XJR-12); Last raced at Daytona 1990. Other 24Hr races: Le Mans, France (1987, 1988, 1990/1st, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001; Spa, Belgium (1983, 1984); Willhire, Snetterton, GB (1980/1st in class).    

“I’ve raced at the Daytona International Speedway on just two occasions and have been fortunate to win [1988] and finish second [1990] in the 24 Hours. From what I remember about those two races, they were physically the hardest ones of my career. I’m very much looking forward to returning to the Speedway and will no doubt see many old friends to exchange tall stories with.

“Mark [Blundell] and I were team-mates in Formula One at Brabham [1991] and Ligier [1993] but we’ve never actually shared a racecar together. We’ve been close friends since the first time we met on the pit wall at Montreal in 1990 while I’ve known Zak [Brown] through the business of F1 for a number of years and greatly admire his determination and sheer energy. So when the opportunity arose to race at Daytona with these guys, it was an easy decision.  

“In recent years I’ve been closely following my son Alex’s motor racing career but I’ve been aching to race again. Now that I’ve cleared my diary of several other obligations, Zak’s invitation to do Daytona was perfectly timed. My last race in North America was an IMSA race when I finished fourth at Del Mar [October, 1991]. Until the official test at Daytona early next month I won’t have driven a Daytona Prototype.”


Mark Patterson (USA). Age: 58. Born: Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Lives: Bronxville, N.Y., USA. 
Daytona History: Seven 24Hr races. Daytona 24Hr: Début 2004. Number of Daytona 24Hr race appearances: 7. (2004 38th/13th SGS, 2005 23rd/14th (DP), 2006/2nd, 2007/9th, 2008/6th, 2009 41st/16th (DP), 2010/7th). Other 24Hr races: Spa, Belgium (2009 17th o/a, 2010/4th in class).   

“My first time at the Daytona International Speedway was during a Skip Barber race weekend in the Southern Series [Formula Dodge]. I was in absolute awe the first time I drove out onto the track in a rental car. The scale of it and the steeply banked corners literally took my breath away.

“I drove my first 24 Hours of Daytona with some friends in a SGS class Corvette in 2004 with my first run in the 24 Hours driving a Daytona Prototype a year later. This will be my seventh Daytona 24 in a DP. Competition is very tough – on drivers and the cars. The top-10 cars approach this as a ‘sprint’ race nowadays. The international latticework of seriously competent IndyCar, NASCAR, Formula One and just about every serious series of drivers, is one of the great thrills of contesting this race. I remember movie legend Paul Newman amongst the race line-ups and of course in recent years NASCAR’s multi-year champion Jimmy Johnson and the likes of Juan Pablo Montoya.

“Grand Am's two class racing [DP and GT] normally means that after 15mins or so, the different classes are all mixed up, so you're pushing yourself to the maximum on each corner, trying to time GT passes as efficiently as possible. Over a 24 hour duration that’s pretty intense.”

Mike Shank (USA), Team Owner of Michael Shank Racing:
“We have a driver line-up that has both speed and experience and that’s very important at Daytona. As long as we can stay out of trouble, accumulating laps and keep the car out of the garage, we should be confident of a good finish. No matter what your pace is like, the main objective is to be out there, putting in the laps day and night so that when it comes down to the last two or three hours of the race, we have a car that can fight for a podium or even better. It’s a fantastic race and I’m delighted to be involved with United Autosports’ first outing at Daytona and am looking forward to working with Zak [Brown], who I have known and admired for a long time, and Richard [Dean].”


Richard Dean (GB), Managing Director & Co-Owner of United Autosports:
“Michael Shank Racing’s excellent team is providing the experience and expertise to ease United Autosports into the Grand Am arena and the Daytona 24 Hours in particular giving me an opportunity to closely monitor the event from another perspective. Having contested the 1997 and 2010 24 Hour races, this time around I’ll see how the event works from the team organization side and from the pit gantry. I will be on hand to help where possible but it will be mainly as the driver assist and provide United Autosports a presence in the pit lane.

“I remember going to watch the 24 hours back in the 1980s with my father [Tony] who also lived in Southern Florida. I have photographs of me proudly shaking hands with Brian Redman, David Hobbs and other greats at this world famous event. Dad raced there in the 1970s and always had great stories of the race – it has such history and is one of those ‘must do’ events!

“Looking back at United Autosports’ first year, the races, our drivers, the Continents we’ve been to and the historic and prestigious events we have contested, it is quite amazing. And so to start off 2011 with us on the grid for the Daytona 24 Hours and with the great driver line-up we’ve assembled, makes me very, very proud.”

Ford-Riley
Roush-Yates prepared V8 Ford 5 liter modular engine, 4 cam, 4 valve, producing over 500hp. Rear-wheel-drive. Continental Tires. Weight: 2275lbs; 5 gears, paddle-shift gearbox. The Riley Technologies MK XXII is the most successful Daytona Prototype of all time.  

United Autosports
Co-owned by Zak Brown and Richard Dean, the US-owned, UK-based team was formed in 2010 and contested the FIA GT3 European Championship with a brace of Audi R8 LMS sports cars. Also competed in the 24 Hours of Spa (3rd & 4th in GT3 class on team’s 24 race début), Intercontinental Le Mans Cup at Zhuhai, China (3rd in GTC) and Macau (3rd GT Cup). Competes in the 2011 FIA GT3 European and British GT Championships plus 24 Hours of Spa and Macau.

Michael Shank Racing
Since moving full-time to the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series, Pataskala, Ohio-based Michael Shank Racing has taken three overall wins and 19 podium results, including second overall in the 2006 Rolex 24 At Daytona as well as monopolizing the front row for the 2008 Rolex 24.

* Comprehensive Blundell, Brown, Brundle and Patterson biographies plus team profiles on United Autosports and Michael Shank Racing are available on request.

* Interviews can be arranged on request, either in advance or at the “Roar Before the Rolex 24” itself (January 7-9).

* The Editorial Copyright free photographs included in this email are the only ones currently available. A comprehensive photo library will be available after the Daytona test (January 7-9) on www.flickr.com/unitedautosports.


Monday, December 6, 2010

British Youngster Joins United Autosports’ 2011 FIA GT3 Euro Campaign

·       Joe Osborne steps up for full European season to co-drive with Mark Patterson
·       “Sister” Audi R8 LMS entry remains unchanged for Zak Brown and Matt Bell
·       Audi’s only official Anglo-American “customer” team determined to build on maiden 2010 season

Exciting young British sportscar prospect Joe Osborne has been snapped up by the Anglo-American United Autosports team for a full FIA GT3 European Championship campaign next year.

Osborne, aged 21, embarks on his first full GT3 season next May* after sporadic outings in British GT4 and FIA GT3 Euro this year. He will co-drive an Audi R8 LMS with Mark Patterson, the American who tied equal second with 2010 United Autosports co-driver Michael Guasch (USA) in the FIA championship’s Audi Manufacturer's Cup.

Meanwhile United Autosports’ Chairman & Co-Owner Zak Brown (USA) continues for a second consecutive year driving the “sister” Audi with Matthew Bell, the Briton who celebrated his 21st birthday last month (Nov 5).

Osborne won the 2004 British Junior Kart TKM Championship before moving in to single-seaters courtesy of a scholarship from Formula BMW UK but budget constraints obliged Joe to switch his attention to sports cars, winning the European GT4 Championship last year.

Joe, who was made a British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) Rising Star in 2009, made his FIA GT3 European Championship début this year, contesting three rounds and recording two top-five finishes (Silverstone & Jarama) in a Porsche 911 GT3R.

United Autosports has already announced a two-car Audi entry in the 2011 British GT Championship with Bell and Guasch linking up with Audi’s former British Touring Car Championship race winner John Bintcliffe (England) co-driving with fellow Yorkshireman Jay Palmer (England). Draper Tools will be a team partner for both the FIA and BGT campaigns.

* Assumes 2011 FIA GT3 European Championship begins in May.

Joe Osborne (GB). Age: 21. Born: Bedford, England. Lives: Olney, Buckinghamshire, England:
“I’m excited to be joining United Autosports and very much looking forward to racing the Audi R8 LMS. It was on the wrong side of the Balance of Performance calculations until the final four races this year so I’m hopeful we’ll be competitive from the first race next season. I will have a pre-season testing program for the first time in my career which I’m already itching to start.

“It was my intention to race with United Autosports in 2010 but couldn't raise the funds. However, seeing them in action this season confirmed what I already knew in that it is an ultra-professional outfit. I know many of the guys from my Ginetta days over the past three years and they have the same drive and passion to win as me – the single most critical thing.

“The European Championship is the premier GT3 series in the world and provides some of the best GT racing with so many manufacturers making it of huge interest to competitors and spectators. Racing on the very best European tracks in a series that offers ‘live’ television for sponsors just emphasizes the professionalism of the series.”


Mark Patterson (USA). Age: 58. Born: Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Lives: Bronxville, N.Y., USA: 
“The prospect of a second season in the European GT3 series with United Autosports thrills me. The series is loaded with good drivers, competitive teams, sexy looking race cars, a big league promotional organizer with an excellent sense of high profile marketeering [SRO] and an authoritative overseer in the form of the FIA. That’s a perfect skeleton, so throw in a series of new and established rock ‘n roll race tracks, there’s more than enough meat on those bones to have a racing party.  It’s serious, it’s fun and it’s very competitive.”


Matthew Bell (GB). Age: 20.  Lives: Barningham nr Richmond, North Yorkshire, England:
“2011 is shaping up to be a very busy year for me! A second consecutive full season in the European GT3 series as well as contesting the BGT will mean I am in the car a lot more often than I was this year which should help me build on my experience I gained in my first year of GT3 racing.

“I will be aiming for championship honors. Next season United Autosports and I will be a lot better prepared. I am currently doing the Formula Renault Winter Cup Series to gain as much experience as I can and that combined with a good pre-season testing schedule will be the perfect preparation for what I expect to be a very competitive and exciting 2011 campaign.”


Zak Brown (USA). Driver, Chairman, Co-Owner United Autosports:
“It’s great to have Joe joining us which completes what I believe will be a very competitive two-car line-up for us in the European series. Both cars have good driver combos and I’m expecting both to be fighting for podium placings. We’ve just finished what has been a fantastic début year and all credit goes to Richard and the team he's built. We had a very tough start to the 2010 season but it was amazing how quickly we improved and by midyear we were leading races and routinely on the podium. Race wins are just right around the corner.”


Richard Dean (GB), Managing Director & Co-Owner of United Autosports:
“Joe deserves this chance. I am a big fan of his after working with him when he won the 2009 European GT4 Championship. He will be a perfect ‘fit’ for Mark and indeed the entire team. Our FIA championship line-up for 2011 is very strong. Next season the combination of experienced, ultra-competitive second year drivers in Mark and Zak paired with two young, very quick, drivers in Joe and Matt is a perfect scenario. Our maiden 2010 was new in every way; team, cars, drivers, championship and circuits. Despite this we still managed front row and podium placings. 2011 promises to be very exciting as we will be better prepared from the green light in the opening race as well as highly motivated!”

* A comprehensive library of Editorial Copyright Free photographs can be downloaded at www.flickr.com/unitedautosports.


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Draper Tools Becomes Partner Of United Autosports’ 2011 Programs

United Autosports’ brace of Audi R8 LMS sports cars will be adorned in Draper Tools livery for the Anglo-American team’s attack on the FIA GT3 European and British GT Championships next year.

Draper Tools Limited is a family-run company supplying hand tools to industry since 1919. In addition to car branding Draper Tools, based in Hampshire, England, will supply equipment and consumables for both United Autosports’ FIA and BGT teams.

The company sells products in all major tool categories including automotive, builders, DIY, gardening, construction, decorating and engineering. More recently Draper Tools, awarded accolades for the high quality of its products, has diversified into hobby, leisure and other non tool lines.

In addition to FIA races likely to be staged in England, France, the Netherlands, Portugal, Russia and Spain plus BGT races (listed below), United Autosports will be in action again at the 24 Hours of Spa (July 30-31) where it claimed stunning third and fourth places in the GT3 category last year.

United Autosports will also work closely with Draper Tools so that valued existing and potential customers attend races in Europe next year and watch the action close-up. Draper Tools also has an agreement with Grand Prix Racing (GPR) who will be both promoting and selling the Draper brand via their Silverstone facility and its website.

2011 Avon Tyres British GT Championship
08 Mar  Silverstone  Media/Test Day
09 Mar  Silverstone  Test Day
23-25 Apr  Oulton Park  2hr race
14/15 May  Snetterton 300  2hr race
18/19 Jun  Brands Hatch  2x1hr races
07/08 Jul  Spa-Francorchamps  2x1hr races
tbc  Silverstone or Donington  2x1hr races
03/04 Sep  Rockingham  2x1hr races
24/25 Sep  Donington Park GP  3hr race
08/09 Oct  Silverstone Arena  2hr race
(Provisional calendar)


Clive Richardson, Marketing Director at Draper Tools:
“Our new association with United Autosports is a further extension of our ongoing brand awareness at the top level of automotive tool users. Our company is delighted to be the team’s prime tooling sponsor and are very excited at being linked with major brands like Audi and Dunlop. Being associated with these prestige brands on race tracks throughout Europe will further promote the Draper Tools brand in this key product sector.”


Zak Brown (USA). Driver, Chairman, Co-Owner United Autosports:
“It’s great to have fantastic partners such as Draper Tools support our team. We depend heavily on their superb equipment to help us build and maintain our racecars so the association fits perfectly.”


Richard Dean (GB), Managing Director & Co-Owner of United Autosports:
“Draper Tools’ backing of United Autosports is a further endorsement of our new but fast moving team! Draper has a high end and extensive product range which fits perfectly with the exacting standards our team require. Motorsport always works in an extreme environment that proves any product and our engineers are delighted and proud to be in partnership with Draper Tools.”

* A comprehensive library of Editorial Copyright Free photographs can be downloaded at www.flickr.com/unitedautosports.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

United Autosports Achieves Top Result In Final Race Of Début Season

· Briton Danny Watts claims podium on Anglo-American team's Macau début

Danny Watts (right) on the winners’ podium after finishing third in the Macau GT Cup race today

United Autosports brought the curtain down on a promising maiden season when Danny Watts (England) achieved third place in the Anglo-American team's final race of 2010 today (Sunday November 21).

Watts drove his Audi R8 LMS home to third place in the 10-lap GT Cup race at the prestigious Macau season-closing race meeting in Asia. Team-mate Richard Meins (England), who lives in nearby Hong Kong, retired the "sister" #28 Audi from eighth place on the eighth lap with a transmission issue.

The United Autosports GT3 class Audi sports cars qualified in third (Watts) and eighth (Meins) places on the 33-car grid but Meins started from seventh when three cars non-started. After an opening lap collision and subsequent track clear up in the preceding Road Sport Challenge event, the GT Cup race started under Safety Car conditions for the opening two laps as cement dust remained on the racing line approaching Turn 1.

In a generally processional 27-minute race around the 3.8-mile "street" circuit Watts, who has been the team's driver coach throughout its maiden FIA GT3 European Championship season, encountered low grip level while Meins had slipped back to ninth at mid-distance.

United Autosports which raced for the very first time in April this year, competed in 17 races. In Belgium (twice), China, Czech Republic, England (twice), France, Macau, Portugal and Spain with the Audi involving 14 different drivers. The team also did two race weekends with the Ginetta G50 (BGT & BritCar).

The team scored top-three podium results in the FIA GT3 European Championship, 24 Hours of Spa, Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (Zhuhai, China) and now the prestigious annual Macau GT Cup race – all in the ambitious team's first year of competition.

Its brace of Audi sports cars are scheduled to arrive back in England on December 31. Work will begin immediately on both R8 LMS cars with one going on static display to promote the Autosport International Show (Birmingham, England) at the nearby Hilton Metropole Hotel (January 13-16). A brand new R8 LMS should be delivered from Audi in January.

Testing commences in February at Navarra (Spain) in readiness for the team's second consecutive season in the FIA GT3 European Championship (Zak Brown/Matt Bell plus TBA/TBA) and its inaugural full British GT Championship campaign (Matt Bell/Michael Guasch plus John Bintcliffe/Jay Palmer).


#3 Gulf Marine Lubricants / Mandarin Shipping / TT Club – Audi R8 LMS
Danny Watts (GB). Age: 30. Lives: Thornborough nr Buckingham, Buckinghamshire, England:
Macau History – 2002: 1st Formula Asia 2000; 2003: 10th F3 Grand Prix; 2004: 12th F3 GP; 2005: Retired F3 GP; 2006: 1st Porsche Carrera Cup Asia; 2007: 5th Porsche Carrera Cup Asia (finished 1st on road but given 25secs penalty for yellow flag infringement); 2008: 2nd Macau GT Cup; 2009: 3rd Macau GT Cup.
Qualifying: 3rd, 2m 31.798s. Weather: Sunny, warm. Race Result: 3rd, +30.8s. Weather: Sunny, warm.

"My best opportunity for gaining a place was going into Lisboa on the first lap but with the race starting behind the Safety Car for two laps, I just didn't have sufficient heat in the tires to challenge. I attacked and pushed as hard as I possibly could and drove my heart out, I really wanted my first Macau GT race win but it wasn't to be and that maiden GT victory continues to elude me. The grip level didn't really come in for some reason and I had to take care of the brakes at times – there was absolutely nothing more to come. After the last two days, I couldn't believe that the race ran cleanly without any crashes – just when I needed a Safety Car it never came! But I've had a great time, really enjoyed myself racing for United Autosports again and just thoroughly love Macau."


#28 Gulf Marine Lubricants / Mandarin Shipping / TT Club – Audi R8 LMS
Richard Meins (GB). Age: 55. Born: Beckenham, England. Lives: Hong Kong:
Macau History – 2000: Retired Guia Race (Ford Focus); 2001: Retired Guia Race (Ford Focus); 2002: 12th Guia Race (Ford Focus); 2003: 6th Guia Race (Ford Focus); 2004: Retired Guia Race (Honda Integra); 2005: 2nd (Class B) Porsche Carrera Cup Asia; 2007: 1st (Class B) Porsche Carrera Cup Asia; 2008: 8th Macau GT Cup; 2009: 11th Macau GT Cup.

Qualifying: 8th, 2m 35.940s. Race Result: Retired.

"I was challenging for seventh place when I had a transmission problem coming in to the Melco Hairpin and lost drive. I rebooted the system but lost drive again for good at Lisboa. The start had been confusing, we all thought it was going to be one lap behind the Safety Car but ended up doing two. I made a mistake by braking too early at the end of the straight which allowed the Ginetta of Frank Yu to get through. That in itself was a shame because Frank was a lot slower around the back section than me. I lost a place to Dilantha Malagamuwa in the Lamborghini but nudged the back of his Lambo when Frank was slow through Fishermans to regain the place. I was all over Frank's Ginetta and it was only a matter of time that I'd get through but then I had the problem. I've nevertheless had a great two races with United Autosports in the Audi R8 LMS and would love to drive with them again."

Zak Brown (USA). Chairman & Co-Owner of United Autosports: Lives: Carmel, Indiana, USA:
"What United Autosports has achieved in its first season is beyond my wildest dreams. We've made our mark in a number of different championships and stand alone races with stellar driver line-ups – it's been an awesome first year for everyone connected with our team. We're well advanced with plans for our 2011 campaigns in the European GT3 and British GT championships and have other exciting plans in store for next season."

Richard Dean (GB), Managing Director & Co-Owner of United Autosports:

"We cannot be disappointed with a podium although it would have been nice to finish our first year off on the top step. I'm a little frustrated that we didn't challenge for the race win. Our team came here as Macau virgins and perhaps that showed in the race – we will certainly do things differently when we come back to this unique race track again. It demands a different approach and that showed as the guys who finished in front of us are Macau 'veterans' while the regulations are not as closely matched to the GT3 rules that we abide to in Europe so we've learned lessons the hard way. I'm also certain that Audi will learn from its first visit to Macau with the R8 LMS.

"Having started our year off at Oulton Park in April, to finish our début season off with another rostrum result, on the other side of the world here in Macau, we've all got to be proud of ourselves. It's been an amazing 'road trip' for our team, comprising of a small number of permanent staff, who had not even started work on the Audi project this time last year. We've made a solid start and one which we plan to build on in 2011."


Saturday, November 20, 2010

United Autosports Start Macau Street Race From Second And Fourth Rows

· Danny Watts narrowly denied front row start by Red Flag stoppage
· Hairpin queue delay costs Richard Meins likely top-five grid slot



Danny Watts (England) starts his Audi R8 LMS sports car from third place with United Autosports team-mate Richard Meins (England) placed eighth on the on the near capacity 33-car grid in the GT Cup race at Macau tomorrow (Sunday November 21).

Watts swept his #3 Audi to a personal best fastest time of 2min 31.798secs, an average speed of 90.19mph, around the ultra-demanding 3.8-mile temporary street circuit. Meins, meanwhile, clocked a 2:35.940 (87.79mph) in the #28 R8 LMS in today's delayed 30-minute qualifying session.

The team had arrived at the circuit at 6.30am in preparation for the 8.15am scheduled time trial only to find organizers had revised the timetable overnight, delaying GT Cup qualifying until 10.55am – a session which was red flagged three times and ultimately abandoned with still nine minutes to run.

Watts and Meins posted P2 & P7 times on their first flying laps and Watts' time would ultimately stand as his best – thwarted by the first red flag after 8mins, the second red on 15mins of running and then the third and final stoppage, which organizers then deemed signaled the end of proceedings, 21mins in – the session actually having lasted 44mins by that stage.

Danny crossed the finish line 0.3secs after the red flag had been shown for the final time and so was cruelly denied that lap time which was within a second of the pole-sitter (Keifa Sawa, Lamborghini LP560, 2:25.386) which would have moved Watts on to the front row.

Meins did improve on his initial first flying lap time but was a casualty of another traffic jam caused by the #22 Lamborghini Gallardo still being unable to negotiate the Melco Hairpin – the source of the final red flag. A top-five grid would have been the Kong Kong-based Englishman's reward but for the delay.

Watts and Meins had set the sixth (2m 44.409s) and 12th (2m 52.312s) fastest times in a bizarre opening GT practice session the previous day when the entire test was disrupted lap after lap when most of the Lamborghini Gallardo sports cars were unable to get around the tight Melco Hairpin cleanly.

Only rarely did a Gallardo make it without coming to a complete standstill, either necessitating assistance from marshals or conducting a three-point turn maneuver. Consequently lengthy stationary queues formed on the approach, up to 12-cars at times, which ultimately caught out Meins after 14mins.

The 10-lap race, featuring a United Autosports entry and the Audi R8 LMS for the first time, is scheduled to start at 10.05am (local time) tomorrow.


#3 Gulf Marine Lubricants / Mandarin Shipping / TT Club – Audi R8 LMS
Danny Watts (GB). Age: 30. Lives: Thornborough nr Buckingham, Buckinghamshire, England:
Macau History – 2002: 1st Formula Asia 2000; 2003: 10th F3 Grand Prix; 2004: 12th F3 GP; 2005: Retired F3 GP; 2006: 1st Porsche Carrera Cup Asia; 2007: 5th Porsche Carrera Cup Asia (finished 1st on road but given 25secs penalty for yellow flag infringement); 2008: 2nd Macau GT Cup; 2009: 3rd Macau GT Cup.
Qualifying: 3rd, 2m 31.798s. Weather: Sunny, warm.

"Qualifying was disjointed denying me any opportunity of getting in to a rhythm but that often sums up Macau. It's a unique place and very different from the majority of tracks we race on and these things will always happen here. With a big grid on such a demanding track, it's up to you as a driver and the team to make sure you don't suffer. I got a 'banker' lap in early on which was always the plan. I stopped after the first red flag, made some changes to the car to make the front end a little sharper, changed tires and went back out but unfortunately just didn't have the time to get the ultimately lap in. But the Audi now feels very good, I'm really looking forward to the race."



#28 Gulf Marine Lubricants / Mandarin Shipping / TT Club – Audi R8 LMS
Richard Meins (GB). Age: 55. Born: Beckenham, England. Lives: Hong Kong:
Macau History – 2000: Retired Guia Race (Ford Focus); 2001: Retired Guia Race (Ford Focus); 2002: 12th Guia Race (Ford Focus); 2003: 6th Guia Race (Ford Focus); 2004: Retired Guia Race (Honda Integra); 2005: 2nd (Class B) Porsche Carrera Cup Asia; 2007: 1st (Class B) Porsche Carrera Cup Asia; 2008: 8th Macau GT Cup; 2009: 11th Macau GT Cup.

Qualifying: 8th, 2m 35.940s. Weather: Sunny, warm.

"Frustrating sums up qualifying for me. On my second flying lap I was delayed by a couple of Lamborghinis clearing themselves at the hairpin. Then I had to come to a complete standstill when the #22 Lambo nosed in to the Armco at the same spot which ultimately brought an end to the session. My 10th Macau meeting got off to a disappointing start in Friday's opening practice session. I came across a queue of stationary, double 'parked' cars on the approach to the hairpin and couldn't avoid making contact causing me to miss half the session and necessitating a rebuild of the front right suspension overnight. There are only one or maybe two overtaking possibilities on the circuit so starting from row four I have my work cut out but I'll give it my best shot."

Richard Dean (GB), Managing Director & Co-Owner of United Autosports:
"On paper third and eighth places on the grid looks to be a reasonable achievement but the times are totally unrepresentative and on a track like Macau, you need to be right at the very front just to stay clear of likely carnage. Richard's sector times were good enough for a place on the front two rows which would have kept him out of the 'danger zone'. Danny did a time a smidgen off pole and having been to see the race organizers, they confirmed he crossed the line 0.3secs after the red light was thrown and so the lap didn't count. Overtaking opportunities are few and far between and having witnessed what's gone on over the last two days with all of the on-track mayhem, I just don't know what will happen come the race."

Thursday, November 11, 2010

United Autosports Aiming To Sign Off From Maiden Season With Top Result

·       Danny Watts and Richard Meins contest prestigious Macau GT race
·       First race appearance for Audi R8 LMS in former Portuguese colony

It will be just two weeks since United Autosports contested a 1,000km endurance sports car race in Zhuhai and is located a mere stone’s throw from the Chinese city but the second and final leg of the Anglo-American team’s “fly away” end-of-season Asian excursion will seem like a world apart when it participates in the Macau GT race on Sunday November 21.

Having competed in 14 one hour races at seven different venues in either the FIA GT3 European or British GT Championships, the 24 hours of Spa (Belgium) and most recently the 621-mile multi-driver Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (China) since the team made its competition début in April, United Autosports brings the curtain down on a promising and ultra competitive maiden season by débuting at the world famous, season-closing annual Macau Grand Prix meeting.

Danny Watts (Britain) and Hong Kong-based Richard Meins (Britain) race the Audi R8 LMS in the 10-lap GT race around the notoriously narrow and 3.8-mile “street” circuit. Aston Martin, Ferrari, Ginetta, Lamborghini, Porsche GT cars are included on the 36-car GT entry list.

The 57th Macau Grand Prix runs November 18-21 and includes the FIA Formula 3 Intercontinental Cup, the Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix – 44th edition, and the FIA World Touring Car Championship – Guia Race of Macau with the GT race headlining four other support races.

Every year the Macau GP event attracts drivers from around the world. 252 drivers from 35 countries and nations are at this year’s event, a fitting year end to what has been a remarkable maiden season for United Autosports which is now well and truly on the world map.

Macau (also known as 澳門 and Macao) is, along with Hong Kong, one of the two special administrative regions of the People's Republic of China. It lies on the western side of the Pearl River Delta bordering Guangdong province to the north and facing the South China Sea to the east and south. Macau was a Portuguese colony and both the first and last European colony in China.

Provisional Timetable:
Friday November 19
1410-1440        Practice

Saturday November 20
0815-0845        Qualifying

Sunday November 21
1005-1055        Race (10-laps)
* Local times



#3 Gulf Marine Lubricants / Mandarin Shipping / TT Club – Audi R8 LMS
Danny Watts (GB). Age: 30. Lives: Thornborough nr Buckingham, Buckinghamshire, England:
Macau History – 2002: 1st Formula Asia 2000; 2003: 10th F3 Grand Prix; 2004: 12th F3 GP; 2005: Retired F3 GP; 2006: 1st Porsche Carrera Cup Asia; 2007: 5th Porsche Carrera Cup Asia (finished 1st on road but given 25secs penalty for yellow flag infringement); 2008: 2nd Macau GT Cup; 2009: 3rd Macau GT Cup.

“Macau is a very special place. From a driver’s perspective, it is one of the most challenging tracks in the world as it has a bit of everything – a first gear slow-speed hairpin, chicanes, long straights and fast corners, so getting a car set-up perfect is hard to achieve. There are no run-off areas so any mistake is heavily punished. Macau is unique. Yes it’s a street circuit, like Monaco and Pau for example, in that it’s lined by barriers but for me that’s where any similarity ends. I have been privileged to race at both of these other street circuits and none of them compare to the challenge that Macau brings and it’s one of those tracks you cannot explain unless you have been there to drive and experience firsthand. It’s generally perceived as the last race of the year for everyone so there is a definite party atmosphere. This year’s GT race marks the first at Macau for the Audi R8 LMS, and of course United Autosports, so I’m aiming to have a good reason to celebrate afterwards.

“I adapted quickly to the R8 LMS in my first race at Zhuhai recently. I won a Porsche Carrera Cup race at Macau several years ago, have finished on the GT podium a couple of times but so far victory has eluded me so I am hoping that by changing my car, from a Porsche to an Audi, is going to change my luck although a good qualifying will be the key. Having led our class at Zhuhai until the last hour, I’m eager to score United Autosports’ maiden win.”



#28 Gulf Marine Lubricants / Mandarin Shipping / TT Club – Audi R8 LMS
Richard Meins (GB). Age: 55. Born: Beckenham, England. Lives: Hong Kong:
Macau History – 2000: Retired Guia Race (Ford Focus); 2001: Retired Guia Race (Ford Focus); 2002: 12th Guia Race (Ford Focus); 2003: 6th Guia Race (Ford Focus); 2004: Retired Guia Race (Honda Integra); 2005: 2nd (Class B) Porsche Carrera Cup Asia; 2007: 1st (Class B) Porsche Carrera Cup Asia; 2008: 8th Macau GT Cup; 2009: 11th Macau GT Cup.

“I think the Audi will be perfect for Macau because it is a very fast circuit and as I found out at Zhuhai, the Audi has plenty of great power. It is very bumpy and there is a lot of braking and the R8 LMS gives you a lot of confidence. I don’t think I could ask for a better car to have at Macau because it is a place you don’t want a wayward car. It should be very good race and I’m very optimistic of a top-five finish.”

Zak Brown (USA). Chairman & Co-Owner of United Autosports: Lives: Carmel, Indiana, USA:
"I couldn't think of a more prestigious event to end our first full year of racing. Based on Danny’s outright speed at Zhuhai, I think we have a strong chance to finish the season on the top step of the podium. Richard also drove consistent and clean so must be on for at least a top-six. Unfortunately prior business commitments will keep me away from Macau but I’ll be closely monitoring the team’s progress”.

Richard Dean (GB), Managing Director & Co-Owner of United Autosports:
“Danny and Richard both know the Macau track very well. We need a good, trouble-free qualifying session because it is almost impossible to overtake so a good grid start is vital. If we can accomplish that then there is no reason why we cannot achieve top-five finishes with both cars. We go in to the Macau race after finishing third in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup at Zhuhai, Danny having led much of the race.

“I returned home to the UK for a few days feeling a little despondent when on reflection, I shouldn’t have – it was a fantastic result for our small team in our first ‘fly away’ event. Danny and Richard were both racing for us for the first time in China while at the same time driving the Audi R8 LMS for the very first time – neither had tested the car previously. So they now have an understanding of the Audi. Macau is a spectacular event and would be a fitting venue for us to score our maiden win.”


Audi R8 LMS (Sportscar according to latest 2010 FIA GT3 regulations)
V10 5.2-liter engine, 4 valves per cylinder, petrol direct injection, emission control by two racing catalytic converters, rear-wheel-drive, traction control (ASR), sequential pneumatic activated 6-speed sport gearbox with shift-paddles, Audi Space Frame (ASF) made of aluminum with bolted steel roll-cage, carbon-fiber composite/aluminum bodywork, Dunlop radial tires. Start weight 1,300kg. Limitation at 8500rpm for every gear. Developed by Audi Sport with cooperation from quattro GmbH. United Autosports achieved third and fourth places on the team’s 24 hour race début in the 2010 Spa 24 Hours.

* A comprehensive library of Editorial Copyright Free photographs can be downloaded at www.flickr.com/unitedautosports.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

United Autosports Earns Intercontinental Le Mans Cup Début Rostrum Finish In Prestigious Chinese Race

· Cruel late race transmission issue robs Anglo-American team of almost certain class victory in team's maiden "fly away" race

Alain Li (left) and Henri Richard claimed a podium finish for United Autosports on the team's ILMC race début

United Autosports wrote a new chapter in its very short but burgeoning history book when the Anglo-American team achieved a top-three rostrum finish in Asia today (Sunday November 7).

Having contested races in Great Britain and mainland Europe throughout its maiden year in competition, the ambitious outfit made a strong Intercontinental Le Mans Cup race début with its brace of Audi R8 LMS sports cars at Zhuhai – a stunning GTC class victory being snatched from the team's grasp in the closing stages.

Alain Li (France) and Henri Richard (France) piloted their #97 Audi in to third place with Richard Meins (England), Danny Watts (England) and Frank Yu (Hong Kong) sharing the #96 Audi that was ultimately unclassified but which looked set for a "LM" GTC category glory.

Watts and Henri Richard had set the second and fourth fastest GTC times in qualifying the previous day – Danny denied scoring the team's maiden class "pole" in the final minute of the 20-minute session in which the damp track continued to dry throughout.

The organizing ACO handed a 30kg weight ballast to the Audi R8 LMS sports cars for the race which started under hazy but increasingly warm sunshine with Watts pressurizing the similar class pole-starting #98 Audi for the lead for much of the opening hour in the 1,000km race. Danny took the lead when the #98 Audi pitted on 60mins while Meins took over the #96 Audi from Watts four minutes later, rejoining still in the class lead after the #98 Audi endured a lengthy pit-stop.

Richard in the #97 Audi moved up to third in class after 24mins and pitted 25mins later for Li but Alain was back in the pits 10mins later, the United Autosports crew replacing a wheel bearing in just 33mins after a superb effort by the crew in the hot and humid conditions.

Meins lost the lead approaching the two hour mark after a spin but was back ahead again 17mins later when the #98 Audi pitted, the class leading #97 United Autosports Audi pitting for Yu on 2hr 15m – the Hong Kong driver remaining ahead following another long stop by the rival #98 Audi.

Li handed back the recovering #98 to Henri Richard with almost three hours on the clock, still fourth in class, while Yu gave the lead Audi to Watts 3hr 22mins into the 232-lap race.

But with a near two-lap advantage and with just 26-laps remaining, Watts coasted to a standstill exiting Turn 12 when his Audi lost drive leaving Henri Richard to salvage a third place in the "sister" #97 R8 LMS at the checker.

The team undertook general maintenance on its cars post race and into Monday aiming to clear customs later that afternoon before its freight container embarked on its journey to Macau. Watts and Meins will compete in the GT race at the prestigious annual "street" event (Nov 19-21) – marking the race début for United Autosports and the Audi R8 LMS sports car at the world famous venue.


#96 Audi R8 LMS

HOURLY OVERALL/GTC CLASS POSITIONS: Driver rotations DW/RM/FY/DW. Start Pos 13th/2nd (Watts); 1hr 12th/1st; 2hrs 16th/2nd; 3hrs 17th/1st; 4hrs POS/POS; 5hrs 17th/2nd; FINISH Not Classified

Richard Meins (GB). Age: 55. Born: Beckenham, England. Lives: Hong Kong:

"We hadn't done much testing in the dry because of the wet weather the previous days so it took me a couple of laps to get into it. I had a spin at the end of the straight but apart from that, I concentrated on avoiding the quicker traffic while at the same trying to put in consistent laps. It's been a fantastic experience driving the Audi – it's a fabulous car."

Danny Watts (GB). Age: 30. Lives: Thornborough nr Buckingham, Buckinghamshire, England:

"I was in full control of the race with almost a full two lap advantage when suddenly the Audi lost drive. I wasn't pushing and was just looking after the car because at my last pit-stop, the clutch was slipping. Nevertheless I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of driving the Audi in the GTC category. It's totally different to what I have been used to all year and I felt I adapted quickly. It's a predictable car to drive. In qualifying, our engineer Alan Mugglestone made a great call and sent me out on cut slick tires on the damp but drying track in qualifying. But the track dried out totally for the final 10mins and I was bumped off class pole right at the end which was disappointing."

Frank Yu (HK). Age: 47. Lives: Hong Kong:

"I thoroughly enjoyed my stint and first race in the Audi apart from the final result of course. I paced myself with the #98 Audi and just maintained the gap. The Audi is really an excellent car. It's so easy to drive and 'friendly'. The best thing about the R8 LMS is that it takes very little time to get accustomed to its characteristics. Within five laps of practice, in wet or dry conditions, I was up to pace."


#97 Comtech Group / Roger Dubuis / WT Microelectronics – Audi R8 LMS

HOURLY OVERALL/GTC CLASS POSITIONS: Driver rotations HR/AL/HR. Start Pos 22nd/4th (Richard); 1hr 20th/3rd; 2hrs 21st/4th; 3hrs 21st/4th; 4hrs POS/POS; 5hrs 19th/4th; FINISH 17th/3rd

Alain Li (F). Age: 50. Born: Caen, France. Lives: Hong Kong:

"Early in my stint I knew there was something wrong. The team did a great job in repairing it and I quickly got in to a good rhythm. It took a little bit of time to get used to the pace of the LMP cars passing you but then I settled down. In my second stint I just tried to stay consistent. It was another level of experience for me after Spa. Henri did a sterling job and to finish third on the podium is a dream come true for me."

Henri Richard (F). Age: 52. Born: Paris, France. Lives: Los Altos Hills, CA (USA):

"It was a shame that we had the bearing issue but that's racing. The team nor the drivers gave up, we had great pace and pushed to the end. I was very impressed with United Autosports, especially considering it's the team's first year and they've gelled incredibly quickly in to a great outfit. Qualifying was challenging as I'd never driven the car on slick, dry weather tires due to rain throughout the Friday and Saturday morning practice sessions. The Audi R8 LMS is so easy and predictable to drive making it a great car for endurance racing."

Richard Dean (GB), Managing Director & Co-Owner of United Autosports:

"I love Le Mans Series style endurance races so it was great for United Autosports to be involved for the first time. It's been tough for our first 'fly away' race but we coped well. On track activities began on Thursday and we immediately encountered a gearbox problem which is puzzling as the same car finished our last race at Zolder without a problem. We effectively needed to get four out of our five drivers some experience of the Audi but two days of rain set us back. The repairs to the #97 cost 33mins but then the car ran faultlessly to the end with both Henri and Alain setting exceptionally good times. Our #96 car which was driven beautifully by Danny, Frank and Richard, led for so long then lost all drive. We believe its clutch failure but we're not sure until we carry out a full investigation."

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Audi R8 LMS Sports Car Enters New Era With United Autosports In China

·       First race for Audi R8 LMS GT3 sports car in China

The Audi R8 LMS sports car makes its Intercontinental Le Mans Cup race début when Anglo-American team United Autosports run a pair of its distinctively liveried GT3 sports cars in the third and final round of the inaugural series at Zhuhai (China) on Sunday November 7.

Richard Meins (England), Danny Watts (England) and Frank Yu (Hong Kong) share the #96 Audi with Alain Li (France) and Henri Richard (France) piloting the #97 R8 LMS. Li was part of the British-based team’s successful Spa 24 Hour line-up and is the only one with previous experience of racing the German-built sports car and driving for Audi’s “official” customer team which is based in England.

The team’s brace of R8 LMS sports cars will run in the “LM” GTC category and will be prepared in FIA GT3 specification. The 1,000km event marks the first-ever race for the Audi R8 LMS in China – a highly important and successful market for AUDI AG.

The one millionth Audi in China was recently handed over to a customer from Changchun (October 20). Audi was the first premium brand in China 22 years ago and have been the unrivaled market leader in this segment ever since. Of the cars delivered to customers, 950,000 were produced in Changchun and the other 50,000 imported. To date, no other carmaker in the premium segment has managed to sell over a million cars in the Chinese market. In the first nine months of 2010, Audi delivered some 175,000 units in China and Hong Kong, also a new record.

Provisional Timetable:
Thursday November 4
0900-1200        Test 1
1400-1700        Test 2

Friday November 5
1030-1130        Practice 1
1530-1630        Practice 2

Saturday November 6
1000-1100        Practice 3
1430-1450        Qualifying (GT/GTC)

Sunday November 7
0900-0920        Warm-up
1200-1800        Race
* Local times

#96 – Audi R8 LMS
Richard Meins (GB). Age: 55. Born: Beckenham, England. Lives: Hong Kong:
“I’ve known Danny [Watts] well having been team-mates at Macau for the past few years. I am very excited at the prospect of racing the United Autosports Audi R8 LMS for the first time and joining the prestigious Intercontinental Le Mans Cup. I recently finished third overall in the Spa 6 hours driving a Ford GT40 and have competed in the Nürburgring 24 Hours on several occasions but this will be my ILMC series début.”

Danny Watts (GB). Age: 30. Lives: Thornborough nr Buckingham, Buckinghamshire, England:
“The Zhuhai track is good to drive. It’s narrow and bumpy in places but with a good mixture of corners. This means the car’s set-up is a compromise but with several hairpin type corners, braking stability and traction will be important. I’m very excited about racing the Audi R8 LMS. It’s a stunningly beautiful car and having attended most of the FIA races as the team’s driver coach and understanding the car's behavior, handling characteristics and looking through huge amounts of data, I’m very excited to get the opportunity to now drive it myself. I’m very thankful to Zak [Brown] and Richard [Dean] for this opportunity and for Strakka Racing who I race for in the Le Mans Series in allowing me to race.”

Frank Yu (HK). Age: 47. Lives: Hong Kong:
“It’s been sometime since Zhuhai hosted a major international event. China is a huge market for anything and everything at the moment. Motorsport is a fast growing sport in the entire Asian region. The race will be tough as we’ll need to be very aware of the LM P1 prototypes at all times because of the massive speed differential.”

#97 Comtech Group / Roger Dubuis / WT Microelectronics – Audi R8 LMS
Alain Li (F). Age: 50. Born: Caen, France. Lives: Hong Kong:
“Zhuhai is a challenging track which is heavy on braking and features a high number of second gear corners. The surface is also quite abrasive and bumpy. I have raced there and in Shanghai, Beijing and Chengdu on numerous occasions when I competed in the Porsche Cup between 2005-08. Contesting the Spa 24 Hour race with United Autosports this summer will, I’m sure, prove to be excellent preparation. It’s likely to be a more physical race than Spa and more mentally demanding due to the shorter ‘recovery’ time in between driving stints, the type of track coupled with faster LMP cars which will require maximum concentration throughout the 1,000km race. I’m very excited about the race with the small but high quality field comprising of the very top Le Mans teams and drivers.”

Henri Richard (F). Age: 52. Born: Paris, France. Lives: Los Altos Hills, CA (USA):
“I’ve never previously raced at Zhuhai, or anywhere in China for that matter, so I’m really looking forward to the whole experience although I did attend an FIA GT race at Zhuhai a couple of years ago when I was a passive observer of my friend Andrea Piccini who was racing his Ferrari. I’m heading to China off the back of a class win in the 1,000 mile Petit Le Mans race so I am not worried about the Zhuhai race in terms of physical fitness. The weather conditions are likely to be hot and humid but I’ve experienced these conditions racing in the American Le Mans Series all this year. I am excited about the state of motorsports in Asia and hope this is the first of many racing events for me in the region.”

Zak Brown (USA). Driver, Chairman, Co-Owner United Autosports:
"China is a very important automobile market nowadays. Indeed AUDI AG recently set a new sales record there and is its largest foreign market. As a team owner, I’m very proud that we’re now adding an appearance in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup to those in the FIA GT3 European and British Championships plus the 24 Hours of Spa – all in our maiden season. The Zhuhai race will also mark the first time an Audi R8 LMS has raced in the ILMC, or Le Mans Series for that matter, while United Autosports is the only two-car Audi R8 LMS team competing in the Chinese race which is also very satisfying.”

Richard Dean (GB), Managing Director & Co-Owner of United Autosports:
“There is no doubt that Zhuhai will be a major test for United Autosports – arguably the biggest challenge in our very short existence. The third and final round of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup marks our first race in an ACO sanctioned event and is certainly a real ‘fly away’ event for us! I expect us to put on a professional show and be very competitive in the GTC category in China.”


Audi R8 LMS (Sportscar according to latest 2010 FIA GT3 regulations)
V10 5.2-liter engine, 4 valves per cylinder, petrol direct injection, emission control by two racing catalytic converters, rear-wheel-drive, traction control (ASR), sequential pneumatic activated 6-speed sport gearbox with shift-paddles, Audi Space Frame (ASF) made of aluminum with bolted steel roll-cage, carbon-fiber composite/aluminum bodywork, Michelin radial tires. Start weight 1,335kg. Limitation at 8500rpm for every gear. Developed by Audi Sport with cooperation from quattro GmbH. Won FIA GT3 European Championship, ADAC-GT Masters and Belgian GT Championship plus Nürburgring 24 Hours and Spa 24 Hours class victories in début 2009 season scoring a total 23 victories. United Autosports achieved third and fourth places on the team’s 24 hour race début in the 2010 Spa 24 Hours.

* A comprehensive library of Editorial Copyright Free photographs can be downloaded at www.flickr.com/unitedautosports.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

United Autosports Finalizes Driver Line-Up For Second Audi Entry At Zhuhai

·       Danny Watts, Richard Meins and Frank Yu to make début for American team in Chinese 1,000km race
·       Two-car entry for Watts & Meins confirmed for prestigious Macau GT Cup race 
·       First race appearance for Audi R8 LMS in China and Macau 
 United Autosports achieved third (pictured) and fourth places in GT3 on the team’s maiden 24 Hour race at Spa (Jul 31-Aug 1)

Danny Watts (England), Richard Meins (England) and Frank Yu (Hong Kong) will race a second United Autosports Audi R8 LMS GT3 sports car alongside already confirmed Alain Li (France) and Henri Richard (France) in the third and final round of the inaugural Intercontinental Le Mans Cup at Zhuhai in China on Sunday November 7.

The trio will be making their début for the American-owned team while none of them have previously raced an Audi R8 LMS. Watts, who has been United Autosports’ on-event driver coach this season, does have experience of Zhuhai having represented Great Britain in A1GP practice in 2007. Meins tested a Ferrari at the Chinese venue last year while Yu has scored numerous podium placings at Zhuhai in the many GT3 races he has contested there.

Having completed its maiden FIA GT3 European Championship campaign in Belgium earlier this month (Oct 10), the team’s brace of Audi sports cars were air freighted out of London last Thursday (Oct 14) having been stripped and rebuilt to the same specification as raced in the Spa 24 Hours (Jul 31-Aug 1) in which the Audi “official” customer team scored third and fourth placings in the GT3 class.

Watts finished first in the LM P2 class (5th overall) at the 24 Hours of Le Mans as well as claiming pole-position and the fastest lap, plus runner-up in the Le Mans Series LM P2 after six class poles, three class and an one outright race win with Strakka Racing. Danny’s last race in a GT sports car was in last year’s Macau race when he finished third (Porsche 997 GT3).

Hong Kong-based Englishman Meins regularly races a variety of historic single-seaters and sports cars racing throughout Europe including a Ford GT40, Lola T70, March 762 and McLaren M23.  Richard also contested the 2001 British Touring Car Championship.

Yu has raced Ferrari and Aston Martin GT3 machinery extensively throughout Asia and has experience in long distance events from the Dubai 24 Hours, with Richard Dean and Merdeka 12 Hours at Sepang.

Two weeks after the inaugural Zhuhai ILMC event, the team’s brace of R8 LMS sports cars will revert to the same specification as raced this season in the FIA GT3 European Championship for the GT Cup race around the temporary, ultra-demanding 3.81-mile “street” Macau circuit on Sunday November 21.

Watts, who competed in the 1999 Formula Palmer Audi single-seater series, first raced at Macau in 2002, when he won the Formula Asia single-seater race. After competing in the F3 Grand Prix for three years, he switched to sportscars and won the Carrera Cup Asia round in 2006, repeating the win in 2007 before a penalty dropped him to fifth. He has competed in the GT race on both occasions (2008 & ’09) since its inception and both times finished on the podium.

Meins will be racing in Macau for the 10th time having made his début there in 2000. Richard contested the Guia Touring Car race (2000-4), the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia (2005-7) and the GT race since 2008. His best result was sixth place in the Guia race in 2003 (Ford Focus) and won the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Class B Division in 2007. Last year, Meins qualified sixth and went on to finish 11th (Porsche 911 GT3 Cup).

The Macau GT race is now in its third year and has been a catalyst for the growth of GT racing in Asia. Watts and Meins will face drivers from the Asia GT3 series while this year’s entry includes Aston Martin, Ferrari, Ginetta, Lamborghini and Porsche sports cars.

For United Autosports Co-Owner Richard Dean it will be a case of re-visiting a venue he first attended 16 years ago when the Briton, contesting the Formula Three Grand Prix, broke a bone in his right hand following an accident.

Richard Meins (GB). Age: 55.  
Born: Beckenham, England. Lives: Hong Kong:
“I tested a Ferrari at Zhuhai a couple of years back in preparation for Macau. It's tight with some short straights and heavy braking so it should get pretty busy with the LM P1 cars out there too. It's shaping up to be a great event and it is attracting a lot of interest in Hong Kong so I expect a good crowd of people will be making the short trip over to attend.

“The GT Cup event marks my 10th Macau race on the island. Macau is without doubt my favorite race circuit but at the same time it’s also the one I have the most respect for. There is no room for error and to put together a good lap is one of the most satisfying experiences you can get from racing. Macau has everything from very fast straights, ‘blind’ 130mph plus corners and a very demanding narrow twisty back section where you never know what will be round the next corner!
“I race a lot of Historic GT cars and own two Ford GT40s – one of which is a prototype and one of the first 5 cars built. I raced a Porsche at last year's Macau event and was happy with a sixth in qualifying and am eagerly looking forward to racing the Audi R8 LMS at Zhuhai then at Macau for United Autosports.”

Danny Watts (GB). Age: 30. 
Lives: Thornborough nr Buckingham, Buckinghamshire, England:
“I’ve been United Autosports’ driver coach this year for its maiden FIA GT3 European Championship campaign and have been thoroughly impressed with its professionalism so I’m delighted to actually be racing for them at Zhuhai and Macau. I’ve practiced an A1 GP single-seater at Zhuhai while this year marks my ninth Macau visit and is a race I look forward to the most every year along with Le Mans.

“My first Macau visit in 2002 was also my first ‘long haul’ flight – I had never heard of the Macau Grand Prix and didn’t know what to expect. I’d beaten Jamie Green and Lewis Hamilton to the Formula Renault UK Championship title so arrived with some confidence. Tim Huxley, who had organized the trip, and my engineer Barry Forth, warned me this would be the most difficult circuit I would ever race on and how right they were!

“I was competing in the Formula Asia 2000 race and had a 30mins practice session, a 30mins qualifying session before the 10 lap race. Despite being instructed by Barry to go gently and most importantly, learn the track in first practice, I crashed causing a lot of damage. With my ears still ringing after a major telling off, I dug deep the next day and took pole and went on to win the race.” 


Frank Yu (HK). Age: 47. 
Lives: Hong Kong:
“Having raced Ferrari and Aston Martin GT3 cars, I can’t wait to drive the Audi R8 LMS all over different circuits in Asia. I’ve raced at Zhuhai on countless occasions in GT3 cars with many podiums. I shared a car with Richard in the Dubai 24 Hours earlier this year so know that United Autosports will be a very professional and competitive team. To race in the prestigious inaugural Intercontinental Le Mans Cup race at Zhuhai will be a tremendous privilege.” 





Zak Brown (USA). Driver, Chairman, Co-Owner United Autosports:
“I still keep having to pinch myself in what we [United Autosports] have achieved in our first year. Having raced on some legendary tracks like Paul Ricard, Silverstone and Zolder in the FIA series plus Spa, to now be looking ahead to us racing in China and Macau is just awesome. We’ve already had Emil Assentato, Matt Bell, Mark Blundell, Eddie Cheever, Mike Guasch, Stefan Johansson, Alain Li, Mark Patterson, Richard [Dean] and myself flying the flag for United on-track and so to now be welcoming Danny, Frank, Henri and Richard, to the fold shows that we are a professional and competitive outfit that drivers want to be associated with.”  

Richard Dean (GB), Managing Director & Co-Owner of United Autosports:
“It’s a great line-up for both races and I’m very excited about the prospect of us racing in China and at Macau. Danny is just plain fast, he’s world class and knows the Le Mans Series well and has raced in A1GP at Zhuhai. Richard and Frank both have track knowledge so we will have one of the few complete driver line-ups who know the track. Frank and I were team-mates in Malaysia for a 12 hour race in 2009. He manages to take his racing seriously while being a hugely popular character in the pits. Frank had a great top-six finish in the Merdeka 12 hours this year, is a massive motorsport enthusiast and will make an important contribution to the team’s success in China. Richard is very experienced at Macau. Asia is an important market for Audi and our sponsors while Macau itself needs little introduction with the GT Cup race steadily growing in importance.”

Audi R8 LMS (Sportscar according to latest 2010 FIA GT3 regulations)
V10 5.2-liter engine, 4 valves per cylinder, petrol direct injection, emission control by two racing catalytic converters, rear-wheel-drive, traction control (ASR), sequential pneumatic activated 6-speed sport gearbox with shift-paddles, Audi Space Frame (ASF) made of aluminum with bolted steel roll-cage, carbon-fiber composite/aluminum bodywork, Michelin radial tires. Start weight 1,335kg. Limitation at 8500rpm for every gear. Developed by Audi Sport with cooperation from quattro GmbH. Won FIA GT3 European Championship, ADAC-GT Masters and Belgian GT Championship plus Nürburgring 24 Hours and Spa 24 Hours class victories in début 2009 season scoring a total 23 victories. United Autosports achieved third and fourth places on the team’s 24 hour race début in the 2010 Spa 24 Hours.

* A comprehensive library of Editorial Copyright Free photographs can be downloaded at www.flickr.com/unitedautosports.