AUDI CUSTOMER TEAM COMBINES U.S. MARKETING AND U.K. TECHNICAL RESOURCES
ZIONSVILLE, IN (October 2, 2009) – Pending formal FIA approval, the 2010 FIA GT3 European Championship is expected to feature a notably American accent through the newly launched United Autosports race team, it was announced today. The team will field two factory-assisted Audi R8 LMS racecars, according to co-owner and driver, American Zak Brown.
Brown, 37, is hardly a stranger to international motorsports. He raced his way across Europe in multiple open wheel series during his twenties. He has since become a renowned international racing insider as the founder and CEO of U.S.-based Just Marketing International (JMI), the world's leading motorsports-exclusive marketing agency. United Autosports' on-track efforts will be supported with JMI's full-service resources, applied principally to promoting the team's sponsors on both sides of the Atlantic.
For Brown, the return to competition on Europe's legendary road courses is literally a dream come true.
"I wasn't much beyond a kid when I first came to Europe," recalled Brown. "No bankroll for racing, no sure prospects. I lived hand-to-mouth, saw the Old World and raced on legendary circuits. I matured as a driver and a businessman through those experiences. Now, returning as owner of a new well-prepared team is magic."
"In creating United Autosports there were a number of different series we considered," said Brown. "FIA GT3 was an easy choice as it is respected, well-run and offers fierce competition among many of the world's prestige performance car brands. Beyond that, it provides a nice runway for upward migration to FIA GT1 or the LeMans Series."
Brown's first order of business was the creation of the team itself. For that, he turned to long-time friend and previous driver teammate, Britain's Richard Dean. As United Autosports' co-owner and Managing Director, Dean, 44, is the chief architect of the team's preparation and execution on and off the race track. In addition to a distinguished career as a driver, including single-seaters, saloon cars and GT cars, Dean has additionally served as managing director of Ginetta Cars, the largest volume racing car manufacturer in Great Britain. A former winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans as a driver (GT2, 2006), he has also served as the Director of Zytek Engineering, a Le Mans Prototype chassis manufacturer and suppliers to the F3000 series.
"My role is quite simple," said Dean. "Put in place a soundly-organized racing operation with a mind toward future expansion. Knowing Zak Brown for a long time and watching what he has created in the motorsports commercial space, I'm excited to have the opportunity to complement that by building a similar caliber racing enterprise."
According to Dean, United Autosports will first focus on the FIA GT3 series, but in time will consider other opportunities in motor racing, including running an initially limited schedule of events in vintage racing events in North America.
"Given our start-up position, we are very fortunate to be aligned with Audi," he said. "Their sports car racing heritage is legendary and their premium global brand position is complimentary to our own goals for United Autosports."
Adding to the race team's managerial depth is John Della Penna, who serves as Sporting Director. No stranger to personally fielding high-profile teams including in CART, IRL, and Ferrari Challenge among others, the veteran Della Penna will preside over various special projects for the team including vintage racing.
Also on the managerial team is John Hogan, who serves as Commercial Director. Throughout his lengthy motorsports career, Hogan has directly contributed to the development and professionalism of the modern motorsports industry. Hogan's experience includes 30 years at Philip Morris as Vice President, Marketing and Sales and directing the world's largest single-brand portfolio in racing, the "Marlboro Red" branding.
Along with producing a solid sponsorship base, Brown's priorities include securing top-shelf drivers for the remaining seats on the two-car team. To that end, he said he will have an especially keen eye for recruiting other American drivers, but mindful of securing the overall best available talent.
Besides Brown himself, another of the team's driver seats has been filled by talented Argentinean Pablo Perez Companc. A winning campaigner in both sports car and open wheel competition, Companc's career was temporarily side-lined after suffering substantial lower extremity injuries in a 2007 Firestone Indy Lights crash at Homestead Miami Speedway. Now recovered, he joins the team after recent successful forays in the Ferrari Challenge North American and Argentina's GT 2000 tours.
ABOUT UNITED AUTOSPORTS
United Autosports is a U.S.-owned professional auto racing team and motorsports development business based in Yorkshire, England. In 2010, United Autosports is expected to feature a two-car Audi R8 LMS team in the FIA European GT3 series.
ABOUT JUST MARKETING INTERNATIONAL (JMI)
JMI is the global leader in motorsports marketing. JMI leverages its insider knowledge, influence and relationships to deliver creative customized solutions to organizations that are looking for a differentiator through motorsports sponsorship to drive their business. JMI is an independent, full-service agency representing corporations in all forms of motorsports worldwide. With more than 125 staff globally, JMI operates six offices in four countries and manages over $300 million in annual motorsports investments. JMI's client list is comprised of leading corporations, some of which include Crown Royal, DIRECTV, Hilton Hotels, Johnnie Walker, Lenovo, LG Electronics, SUBWAY® Restaurants, UPS and Verizon Wireless, among others. JMI's clients participate in all major motorsports series, including NASCAR, Formula One World Championship, IndyCar Series, Grand-Am, NHRA, World Rally Championship, and the American Le Mans Series. For more information, please visit JMI on the worldwide web at www.justmarketing.com http://www.justmarketing.com.