Thursday, November 11, 2010

United Autosports Aiming To Sign Off From Maiden Season With Top Result

·       Danny Watts and Richard Meins contest prestigious Macau GT race
·       First race appearance for Audi R8 LMS in former Portuguese colony

It will be just two weeks since United Autosports contested a 1,000km endurance sports car race in Zhuhai and is located a mere stone’s throw from the Chinese city but the second and final leg of the Anglo-American team’s “fly away” end-of-season Asian excursion will seem like a world apart when it participates in the Macau GT race on Sunday November 21.

Having competed in 14 one hour races at seven different venues in either the FIA GT3 European or British GT Championships, the 24 hours of Spa (Belgium) and most recently the 621-mile multi-driver Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (China) since the team made its competition début in April, United Autosports brings the curtain down on a promising and ultra competitive maiden season by débuting at the world famous, season-closing annual Macau Grand Prix meeting.

Danny Watts (Britain) and Hong Kong-based Richard Meins (Britain) race the Audi R8 LMS in the 10-lap GT race around the notoriously narrow and 3.8-mile “street” circuit. Aston Martin, Ferrari, Ginetta, Lamborghini, Porsche GT cars are included on the 36-car GT entry list.

The 57th Macau Grand Prix runs November 18-21 and includes the FIA Formula 3 Intercontinental Cup, the Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix – 44th edition, and the FIA World Touring Car Championship – Guia Race of Macau with the GT race headlining four other support races.

Every year the Macau GP event attracts drivers from around the world. 252 drivers from 35 countries and nations are at this year’s event, a fitting year end to what has been a remarkable maiden season for United Autosports which is now well and truly on the world map.

Macau (also known as 澳門 and Macao) is, along with Hong Kong, one of the two special administrative regions of the People's Republic of China. It lies on the western side of the Pearl River Delta bordering Guangdong province to the north and facing the South China Sea to the east and south. Macau was a Portuguese colony and both the first and last European colony in China.

Provisional Timetable:
Friday November 19
1410-1440        Practice

Saturday November 20
0815-0845        Qualifying

Sunday November 21
1005-1055        Race (10-laps)
* Local times

#3 Gulf Marine Lubricants / Mandarin Shipping / TT Club – Audi R8 LMS
Danny Watts (GB). Age: 30. Lives: Thornborough nr Buckingham, Buckinghamshire, England:
Macau History – 2002: 1st Formula Asia 2000; 2003: 10th F3 Grand Prix; 2004: 12th F3 GP; 2005: Retired F3 GP; 2006: 1st Porsche Carrera Cup Asia; 2007: 5th Porsche Carrera Cup Asia (finished 1st on road but given 25secs penalty for yellow flag infringement); 2008: 2nd Macau GT Cup; 2009: 3rd Macau GT Cup.

“Macau is a very special place. From a driver’s perspective, it is one of the most challenging tracks in the world as it has a bit of everything – a first gear slow-speed hairpin, chicanes, long straights and fast corners, so getting a car set-up perfect is hard to achieve. There are no run-off areas so any mistake is heavily punished. Macau is unique. Yes it’s a street circuit, like Monaco and Pau for example, in that it’s lined by barriers but for me that’s where any similarity ends. I have been privileged to race at both of these other street circuits and none of them compare to the challenge that Macau brings and it’s one of those tracks you cannot explain unless you have been there to drive and experience firsthand. It’s generally perceived as the last race of the year for everyone so there is a definite party atmosphere. This year’s GT race marks the first at Macau for the Audi R8 LMS, and of course United Autosports, so I’m aiming to have a good reason to celebrate afterwards.

“I adapted quickly to the R8 LMS in my first race at Zhuhai recently. I won a Porsche Carrera Cup race at Macau several years ago, have finished on the GT podium a couple of times but so far victory has eluded me so I am hoping that by changing my car, from a Porsche to an Audi, is going to change my luck although a good qualifying will be the key. Having led our class at Zhuhai until the last hour, I’m eager to score United Autosports’ maiden win.”

#28 Gulf Marine Lubricants / Mandarin Shipping / TT Club – Audi R8 LMS
Richard Meins (GB). Age: 55. Born: Beckenham, England. Lives: Hong Kong:
Macau History – 2000: Retired Guia Race (Ford Focus); 2001: Retired Guia Race (Ford Focus); 2002: 12th Guia Race (Ford Focus); 2003: 6th Guia Race (Ford Focus); 2004: Retired Guia Race (Honda Integra); 2005: 2nd (Class B) Porsche Carrera Cup Asia; 2007: 1st (Class B) Porsche Carrera Cup Asia; 2008: 8th Macau GT Cup; 2009: 11th Macau GT Cup.

“I think the Audi will be perfect for Macau because it is a very fast circuit and as I found out at Zhuhai, the Audi has plenty of great power. It is very bumpy and there is a lot of braking and the R8 LMS gives you a lot of confidence. I don’t think I could ask for a better car to have at Macau because it is a place you don’t want a wayward car. It should be very good race and I’m very optimistic of a top-five finish.”

Zak Brown (USA). Chairman & Co-Owner of United Autosports: Lives: Carmel, Indiana, USA:
"I couldn't think of a more prestigious event to end our first full year of racing. Based on Danny’s outright speed at Zhuhai, I think we have a strong chance to finish the season on the top step of the podium. Richard also drove consistent and clean so must be on for at least a top-six. Unfortunately prior business commitments will keep me away from Macau but I’ll be closely monitoring the team’s progress”.

Richard Dean (GB), Managing Director & Co-Owner of United Autosports:
“Danny and Richard both know the Macau track very well. We need a good, trouble-free qualifying session because it is almost impossible to overtake so a good grid start is vital. If we can accomplish that then there is no reason why we cannot achieve top-five finishes with both cars. We go in to the Macau race after finishing third in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup at Zhuhai, Danny having led much of the race.

“I returned home to the UK for a few days feeling a little despondent when on reflection, I shouldn’t have – it was a fantastic result for our small team in our first ‘fly away’ event. Danny and Richard were both racing for us for the first time in China while at the same time driving the Audi R8 LMS for the very first time – neither had tested the car previously. So they now have an understanding of the Audi. Macau is a spectacular event and would be a fitting venue for us to score our maiden win.”

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, Dunlop radial tires. Start weight 1,300kg. Limitation at 8500rpm for every gear. Developed by Audi Sport with cooperation from quattro GmbH. 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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