Mike Guasch, the racer from Walnut Creek, California who won the 2009 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear 'Master Series' title will switch from open-wheel racing to sports cars in 2010 as co-driver of the #22 United Autosports / MOLECULE Labs / MG4 Manufacturing Audi R8 LMS car competing in the FIA GT3 European Championship. His co-driver on the two-car United Autosport team will be Mark Patterson, another past Star Mazda Master Series competitor who has been running for the last 5 years in the Grand Am Rolex series driving a Daytona Prototype. The duo will share the car in 12 1-hour events held in six countries, including“To race in the FIA GT-3 series will be a great adventure and I frankly can’t wait,” said Guasch. “The caliber of teams and drivers is absolutely top-shelf, and there is a lot of interest from the media because Henri and I make up an all-American team. I've lived in
Great Britain, the Czech Republic, Germany, France, Portugal and during a season that stretches from May 2 to October 31. Italy
Guasch, 52, a semi-retired businessman and entrepreneur, has a long history of competition in motocross and Jet Ski racing, but his 2006-2009 program as a driver in the intensely competitive Star Mazda Championship -- crowned by his first-ever national racing title -- marks his first foray into auto racing. He clinched his championship with six in-class victories driving the #91 JDC Motorsports / Molecule Labs / MG4 Manufacturing Mazda. The Master Series is a race-within-a-race for drivers 45 and older that pits businessmen/racers against the hottest young drivers in the world in high-tech, Indy-style cars that battle wheel-to-wheel at speeds up to 160 mph.
"The Star Mazda Championship is a tremendous training ground for drivers of any age, and I feel well-prepared to take on this new challenge," says Guasch. "I'll get to drive my new GT car for the first time later this week, but I recently did a three-hour endurance race in a Porsche to get a feel for racing a sports car. It’s a somewhat claustrophobic experience at first, with all that metal around you, and while the car is more powerful and faster in a straight line than my Star Mazda, it reacts much more slowly in the corners. But I got the hang of it pretty quickly and turned some respectable laps, so with even more time testing and racing my new R8 LMS, I expect to be very competitive; it's just a matter of dedication, that's what makes anyone good at what they do."
Guasch's first experience behind the wheel of the R8 LMS comes next week in
Algarve, . From there, the United Autosports team heads for a test at Portugal Silverstone, England and then for a 'balance of power' test at during which the GT3 series officials will work to make sure the various cars competing are as equal as possible in performance. The team will 'warm up' with a race in the British GT championship and begin the GT3 series races at Silverstone on May 2. Dijon, France
"This program appeals to both the driver and the businessman in me because the United Autosports team is very specially presented with a full-blown hospitality suite and brand new race cars," says Guasch. "The team is owned by Zak Brown of Just Marketing Inc., the company that brought IZOD and the Indy Racing League together. He's also co-driving the second car and his company is the marketing organization for the GT3 series, so there's a lot of commercial interest in this program. We're in negotiation with some very large companies and it will be an interesting experience, for the first time in my life, to have supplemental income from sponsorship on my race car." For more info on Mike’s racing, go to www.mikeguasch.com
About the FIA GT3 European Championship
This Championship was launched in December 2005 and has very quickly grown to be a great success, with 44 cars entered in the first season in 2006, and 50 in 2007. The GT3 cars have also moved into a number of national Championships, in many as the main category. GT3 cars remain close to their road-car origins, making them less expensive to build and to run. The Championship is based on an innovative concept in the form of a 'Cup of Cups' with limited numbers of each make allowed to take part. As well as an overall team and drivers classifications, there are separate classifications for each make, with the winner of each Cup being invited to the podium to receive a Manufacturer's award, while the FIA GT3 European Championship trophies will be given to the overall race winners. Entry is reserved for non-professional drivers. For further information, go to www.FIAGT3.com.
About United Autosports
United Autosports is a U.S.-owned professional auto racing team and motorsports development business based in
. In 2010, United Autosports will feature a two-car Audi R8 LMS team in the FIA European GT3 series. It will also prepare and field vintage race cars for Historic Motorsports Productions events in Yorkshire, England North America as well as prepare a single-car team in Ginetta Cup competition. For further information, go to www.unitedautosports.com
About MOLECULE LABS
Mike Guasch is the creator of Molecule Labs, a company with roots in both specialty chemical manufacturing and motor sports. His expertise developing innovative protective chemicals led to the sale of one of his national brands to a Fortune 500 company in 2005. But instead of retiring, he decided to devote more time to racing. With his increased time on the racetrack, Guasch realized that his Nomex® racing suits required special care that dry cleaning and ordinary laundry products could not provide. So he returned to the lab to develop a new line of protective chemicals and care products specifically formulated for Nomex® and other technical fabrics. After two years of development and testing, in the lab and on the track, Guasch and his new company have created the four-step Molecule™ Technical Fabric Care System. Additional information on Molecule Labs can be obtained from the corporate website @ http://www.moleculelabs.com.
About Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear
For 2010, the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear will feature an 11-weekend, 13-race schedule, most on major race weekends with American Le Mans and the Indy Racing League. Rising stars from around the world will compete for prizes valued at $1.5 million and benefit from two driver development programs, including the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Driver Development Ladder and the Indy Racing League's 'Road to Indy' program. Series alumni include Indy Car stars Marco Andretti, Graham Rahal and Raphael Matos, rising NASCAR drivers Michael McDowell, Scott Speed and Colin Braun and prototype racers Dane Cameron and Guy Cosmo. Drivers 16 and older are welcome to compete and the Star Mazda Championship also features Expert (30 to 44) and Master (45 and older) classes for more mature racers. The Star Mazda Championship features standing starts, wheel-to-wheel racing at 150 mph and budgets a fraction of other top open-wheel ladder series. For more information on the Star Mazda Championship please visit www.starmazda.com