· American owned team to race in GTC category in inaugural ILMC Zhuhai race
· First race for Audi R8 LMS GT3 sports car in China
· American Le Mans Series regular Henri Richard to make United Autosports début alongside fellow Frenchman Alain Li
The American owned United Autosports GT3 sports car team will compete in the third and final round of the inaugural Intercontinental Le Mans Cup at Zhuhai in China on Sunday November 7.
The team's brace of R8 LMS sports cars will be prepared in the specification as raced in the Spa 24 Hours (Jul 31-Aug 1) for the six hour race which will mark the first-ever race for the Audi R8 LMS in China – a highly important and successful market for AUDI AG.
French duo Alain Li, who raced with United Autosports at Spa, and Henri Richard, will drive one R8 LMS with the drivers for the second Audi expected to be announced later this month. United Autosports achieved third and fourth positions in the GT3 category at Spa – the team's maiden 24 hour race – with Hong Kong-based Li sharing the fourth placed car. Richard, who lives in California, has contested the 2010 American Le Mans Series and will be making his début with the team co-owned by Zak Brown and Richard Dean.
The Leeds (GB)-based team will arrive at Zhuhai four weeks after the final races in the FIA GT3 European Championship – a 12-race series the British-based team has fully contested during its first year of competition with the Audi R8 LMS – a sports car developed by Audi Sport with cooperation from quattro GmbH for its maiden season of "customer sport" racing in 2009. Sponsorship for the Chinese race will come courtesy of Li's long-time supporter Roger Dubuis Watches while Richard is supported by WT Microelectronics and the Comtech Group.
AUDI AG recently set yet another new sales record in China, its largest foreign market. With 22,358 units, the Company sold 67.5 percent more cars there than in August 2009. The brand's success is also reflected in terms of customer satisfaction, with the latest J.D. Power study showing that Audi delighted Chinese customers with its range of services more than any other premium carmaker in the last 12 months. And Chinese buyers also voted the brand's sales team as the best of its kind in the industry.
Alain Li (F). Age: 50. Born: Caen, France. Lives: Hong Kong:
"I am thrilled to be teaming up with United Autosports at Zhuhai after the incredible result the team achieved in Spa. That result was a testament to the professionalism and dedication of everyone in the team. I raced in Zhuhai when I competed in the Porsche Cup Asia between 2004-08 with top-6 finishes on each occasion. The Intercontinental Le Mans Cup event will be the biggest race to be staged in Asia this year apart from the F1 Grand Prix. It will be an enormous thrill to be taking part in such a prestigious race. As a boy growing up in Hong Kong I could never have imagined that one day I would be competing in such an event just an hour across the border in China. Being half Chinese, I hope to be able to put in a good showing for the local drivers. I loved driving the Audi R8 LMS and I cannot wait to get behind the wheel again. I think the Audi will be well suited to Zhuhai given its fantastic balance and braking."
"I am pleased to finally be driving with United Autosports. I had to postpone my FIA GT3 European Championship plans due to business priorities so it is with great anticipation that I look forward to Zhuhai given the team's strong results, especially at Spa, in its inaugural season of competition. Having done a full season in the American Le Mans Series, the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup is a natural extension for me and certainly a series I would consider running in its entirety in the future. I have never driven at Zhuhai but will be practicing extensively on a simulator. I'm anticipating the biggest challenge will be learning the Audi R8 LMS and its tires in comparison to the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car I race in the ALMS."
Zak Brown (USA). Driver, Chairman, Co-Owner United Autosports:
"I'm very excited about our new team racing in Asia in United Autosports' first year of competition. Having contested the full FIA GT3 European Championship, the Spa 24 Hours and a couple of British GT Championship events, to now get an entry in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup finalé is just amazing and underlines our desire and our commitment to GT sports car racing. China is an increasingly important market for not only Audi but our sponsors as well. In an ideal world our participation will open up us being allowed to compete in the 12 Hours of Sebring and at Petit Le Mans – stellar sports car races in the USA where United Autosports has a huge interest and obvious desire to compete."
Richard Dean (GB), Managing Director & Co-Owner of United Autosports:
"The inaugural Zhuhai race is a great opportunity for United Autosports to showcase both us, as a team, and of course the Audi R8 LMS in the ultra-important Asian market. Despite what has been said recently, we really hope the ACO adopt the GTC category for GT3 cars at ILMS events in 2011. Alain [Li] proved himself to us at Spa, doing a great job and we feel he is part of our team now. Zhuhai will be perfect for him, he knows the circuit and he knows the car. The six hour format of the ILMC will suit his consistent, reliable and calm approach. Henri [Richard], who had to shelve plans to join us this season, has been racing regularly in the GTC class in ALMS with great success, and so it will be really good to finally get him in one of our cars for this event. The support and enthusiasm we're receiving from Audi Sport's Customer Centre for this event has been tremendous and we'll continue to work close with our colleagues in Germany so that we put on a great show 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.
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