Newly-formed United Autosports has revised the driver line-up for its FIA GT3 European Championship campaign with its brace of 2010-specification Audi R8 LMS sportscars.
Mark Patterson (Bronxville, NY) will co-drive with fellow American Michael Guasch (Walnut Creek, CA), Mark replacing Henri Richard who is now unable to contest the 12-race, six-venue European-based series* due to increased business commitments. Zak Brown (Carmel, IN), the Chairman and Co-Owner of United Autosports, will race alongside Argentinean Pablo Pérez Companc.
The American-owned United Autosports team, which will have Remington as its primary sponsor, collected its two Audi R8 LMS sportscars from Audi Sport in Germany this week (3 Mar) and headed directly to Portugal for a two-day test (8-9 Mar) at the Autodrómo Internacional do Algarve circuit near Portimão.
The 525-hp Audi R8 LMS made a convincing showing in its first racing season in 2009. The R8 LMS was developed for “customer sport” by Audi Sport in close cooperation with quattro GmbH and clinched 23 victories and three championships including the 2009 FIA GT3 European title.
“I’m very excited to be driving for this incredible new US team,” stated Mark who has signed a two-year deal with United Autosports. “The FIA GT3 European series features competitive, spectacular looking cars with Audi heading the field.
“My knowledge of US tracks is deep but in Europe, except for Spa, it’s quite shallow. So getting up to speed on these challenging tracks will be exciting. I’ve been peddling a 2,250 lb, 500 hp, sequential shift Daytona Prototype around for the past five years so I can currently only imagine the luxury of a meticulously built and beautifully balanced Audi R8 LMS with paddle shifters!”
Zak Brown added: “Mark is a strong addition to United Autosports. With his impressive background in sportscar racing, he will make great contributions to our 2010 campaign. I’m thrilled to have him as a team-mate and I look forward to racing with him.”
“Being an American and extremely accomplished in both a race car and in business, Mark [Patterson] is the perfect profile for United Autosports and our FIA GT3 Championship programme,” confirmed Richard Dean, Managing Director and Co-Owner of United Autosports.
“To achieve at this level in both arenas is an obvious sign of a competitive nature. Mark is a proven winner in Grand Am and has now set Europe and the FIA series as his next personal challenge.
“Henri [Richard] had to pull out due to work commitments, which was a great shame, but we’ve come out of this very well with the signing of Mark. There is huge interest around our new team and the Audi R8 LMS which meant we had a long list of candidates to choose from.”
United Autosports, which operates out of Yorkshire, England, has a further test at Silverstone (23-24 Mar) before making its race début in the opening round of the British GT Championship at Oulton Park (5 Apr).
A further test scheduled for Dijon (7-8 Apr) will precede the team’s FIA GT3 European Championship début in the opening rounds at Silverstone (2 May) – a series primarily for private teams and non-professional drivers. United Autosports also plans to contest the Spa 24 Hours (31 Jul-1 Aug) in Belgium.
In 2010, United Autosports features a two-car Audi R8 LMS team in the FIA GT3 European Championship and a single-car in the UK-based Ginetta G50 Cup Series. Additionally, it will prepare and field a fleet of historic racecars for Historic Motorsports Productions "Legends of Motorsports" events in North America.
2010 FIA GT3 European Championship
02 May Silverstone, England
23 May Brno, Czech Republic
20 Jun Oschersleben, Germany
04 Jul Paul Ricard, France
19 Sep Algarve, Portugal
31 Oct Enna Pergusa, Italy*