Thursday, March 25, 2010

United Autosports Continues Positive Test Programme At Silverstone

·       Both Audi R8 LMS sportscars in top-five at British GT Championship Test Day

United Autosports has successfully clocked up more valuable mileage in a two-day test (23-24 March) at Silverstone (England) which saw Mark Patterson experiencing the #22 Molecule/Cerutti Audi R8 LMS for the first time.

Having completed 1,200km in a trouble-free maiden test with its brace of 2010-specification R8 LMS sportscars at the Autodrómo Internacional do Algarve circuit near Portimão in Portugal (8-9 Mar), Patterson joined co-driver Michael Guasch while Zak Brown, the Chairman and Co-Owner of United Autosports, was out in the Remington sponsored #23 Audi at Silverstone.

The American owned team spent just five full days at its Yorkshire base in England after returning from Portugal – the first time the Audi sportscars had been in United Autosport's impressive workshop facility - before heading for the famous British motor racing venue.

A further combined 1,100km was put on the 'odometer over two days - despite changeable weather conditions – the final day being the Avon Tyres British GT Championship's Media Day (24 March) – a series in which United Autosports makes its race début with its 5.2-litre, V10-engined Audi R8 LMS GT3 class sportscars.

Brown set the second fastest time on Wednesday (1m 53.898s) while Tiff Needell, Matt Bell plus Kurt Mollekens, the latter conducting a "balance of performance test", also had short spells in the #23 Audi. The #22 Molecule/Cerutti Audi clocked the fifth quickest time (1:55.358) around the 5.14-km (3.194-mile) "Bridge Grand Prix" circuit with both Patterson and Guasch circulating within a tenth of each other.

United Autosports makes its race début in the opening two races of the British GT Championship at Oulton Park (Cheshire, England) on 5 April – the first time an Audi R8 LMS has ever competed in this series. Prior to contesting Rounds 1 & 2 of the FIA GT3 European Championship at Silverstone on 2 May, the team heads for Dijon (France) for the series' "Balance of Performance" Official Test over 6-7 with the team remaining for an additional day's test (8 April).

#22 Molecule/Cerutti Audi R8 LMS
Michael Guasch (USA). Lives: Walnut Creek, California. Age: 52

"I didn't get any running in the dry on Tuesday which was frustrating but managed a good run on Wednesday and now feel much happier. We're fine-tuning the Audi in terms of aero and camber settings and it's gradually coming to us. It's about gaining confidence in the car and finding its limits – on tracks I've never previously seen in my life let alone raced on!"

Mark Patterson (USA). Lives Bronxville, New York State. Age: 58
"Before Tuesday I'd never seen Silverstone and the closest I'd got to my racecar was a photo of its interior so the last couple of days have been interesting. Wow, what a car this Audi R8 LMS is! They tell me it's a sportscar but to me it's a pure racecar – unbelievable. The powerful V10 engine is so smooth, the paddle-shift gearbox an absolute joy while the ABS anti-lock brakes very reassuring – all very different from the Daytona Prototype I've driven for the last five years. "

#23 Remington Audi R8 LMS
Zak Brown (USA). Lives: Carmel, Indiana. Age: 38

"We had some dodgy weather [rain] on Tuesday but Wednesday's test was much better. The car was moving around on 'old rubber' but when we bolted on some fresh tyres I was able to set a decent, competitive time despite my lack of knowledge of Silverstone. I feel very comfortable in the Audi but there is still a lot to explore with the R8 LMS and to figure out how to go faster. But after only two tests, I'm very happy with the way the team is bonding and learning about the Audi."

Richard Dean (GB), Managing Director & Co-Owner of United Autosports
"We've had only a small period of time to pull together the various elements of United Autosports. The engineers, mechanics and admin guys have been together for a while but throw in the element of a new car, working with a new manufacturer and of course 'new' drivers all coming over from the States. We've really not had any time back at our workshops in Birstall near Leeds but judging by our performance over the past two days, we all seem to be gelling together which bodes very well for the season ahead."

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