· United Autosports claims wins in North America and England over same weekend
Stefan Johansson shares some last minute advice with Zak Brown (in car) at Monterey
United Autosports Co-Owner Zak Brown immediately turned the clock back after helping his new GT team achieve a magnificent podium place on its 24 hour race début.
The American entrepreneur returned to the US after placing third in the GT3 category of the Spa 24 Hours (Jul 31-Aug 1) to compete over two consecutive weekends at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
The Californian track played host to the Monterey Pre-Historics (Aug 7-8) and then the four-day Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion (Aug 12-15) which saw tens of thousands of spectators attend to view a mouth-watering collection of over 600 historic automobiles racing on the world famous 2.238-mile Laguna circuit just as they did "back in their day."
Brown raced his ex-John Watson 1979 McLaren MP28 to sixth place after qualifying ninth at the Pre-Historics event. Last weekend Zak qualified 11th and finished ninth in a quality 36-car field at the Reunion meet for 1966-1983 Formula One machines – the highest-placed McLaren Formula One machine.
Meanwhile “Super Swede” Stefan Johansson, who had placed the “sister” United Autosports Audi R8 LMS GT3 sports car fourth at Spa, qualified in pole-position, led every lap and won the 1981-1989 FIA Mfg. Championship & IMSA GTP Race in Brown’s 1986 Porsche 962 IMSA GTP car.
This particular car won five races in its heyday and was driven mainly by Price Cobb and Rob Dyson. Brown was joined at Laguna by Historic Motorsports Productions LLC (HMP) partner Bobby Rahal who also raced some of his cars. Brown teamed up with Rahal plus Peter Stoneberg earlier this year to welcome in HMP’s new era of vintage motor racing.
“Coming off the back of our incredible Spa achievement, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my last two weekends at Monterey,” confirmed Brown. “It’s always a privilege to get behind the wheel of the McLaren and to be racing it at Laguna doesn’t get much better. Stefan [Johansson] drove brilliantly to dominate his race event while the entire atmosphere last weekend was just awesome.”
While Johansson was winning in the United Autosports entered Porsche at Laguna, its European operation were chalking up win number one in England. Brothers Rob and Matt Bell joined forces for the first time and duly claimed a class victory in a two-hour, two-driver British GT Championship race at Silverstone (August 15).
The Bells scored a comfortable one-lap G4 category win in the 120mins race which marked not only their respective débuts in the British GT series but also the first time either had raced a G4 class Ginetta G50 entered and prepared by United Autosports. Matt, aged 21, co-drives with Zak Brown in the FIA GT3 European Championship at the wheel of an Audi R8 LMS.
Englishman Richard Dean, Brown’s fellow co-owner of United Autosports, remarked: “It’s very pleasing for United Autosports to achieve its first class win in the British GT Championship on only our second outing in the series and our first with the Ginetta. Matt and Rob faced some very experienced Ginetta drivers and we came out on top.”