· Bell, Brown & Patterson all have good memories of 2010 Algarve race
· Osborne to make race début for Anglo-American team in Audi R8 LMS
United Autosports begins its second season in the FIA GT3 European Championship at the Autodrómo Internacional do Algarve circuit near Portimão (May 7-8) – a Portuguese track which proved to be a very happy “hunting ground” for the Anglo-American’s maiden visit last season.
Zak Brown posted the FIA GT3 team’s first front row start. Mark Patterson, with co-driver Michael Guasch, scored United Autosports’ maiden championship point in the opening race. Brown and co-driver Matt Bell, who had his personal best qualifying position of the season, collected the team’s first championship silverware with third place – a mere 8.356secs behind the winner in the second race.
So the pleasant memories of last September’s exploits around the technical 2.92-mile Portuguese track combined with a “new term” getting underway, the start of the 12-race 2011 series which concludes in October after “double header” races in England, Spain, France, Russia and the Netherlands, sees United Autosports looking to build on the experience and momentum from its promising maiden 2010 season.
Patterson is joined by United Autosports “newcomer” Joe Osborne in the #22 Audi R8 LMS for 2011 with Bell who, along with United Autosports began a busy 2011 GT3 season with second and third position finishes in the opening rounds of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship at Oulton Park (England) last Monday (April 25) and Brown continuing in the “sister” #23.
Friday – 1145-1245 Practice; 1635-1735 Practice
Saturday – 0900-0950 Qualifying; 1415-1515 Race 1
Sunday – 1115-1215 Race 2
* All times are “local”
Sep 18/19 – FIA Rds 9 & 10 – Algarve, Portugal (#22: Guasch/Patterson; #23 Bell/Brown)
Rd 9 Qualifying: 2nd #23 Brown, 1m 46.575s; 6th #22 Guasch, 1m 47.176s. Weather: Sunny, hot.
Rd 9 Result: 10th #22; #23 Retired. Weather: Sunny, hot.
Rd 10 Qualifying: 6th #23 Bell, 1m 46.095s; 20th #22 Patterson, 1m 47.442s. Weather: Sunny, hot.
Rd 10 Result: 3rd #23; 14th #22. Weather: Sunny, very hot.
#22 Draper Tools – Audi R8 LMS
Joe Osborne (GB). Age: 22. Born: Bedford, GB. Lives: Olney, Buckinghamshire, GB:
“I love the Portimão track. Every corner is a challenge while the gradient changes keep you awake. You must force yourself to carry the speed through all the quick corners. I don't think it should be too hot ambient temperature wise so hopefully we can go on a full out attack! It’s been a good track for me as I won the 2009 European GT4 championship there. I was also in attendance as a spectator at the corresponding FIA weekend so witnessed United Autosports’ maiden podium. Testing has been very good but nothing comes close to going wheel to wheel in race action. I’m aiming for a top-six in both races – I've been fortunate to get Draper Tools and Engage sponsorship so I need to make sure I do the business to try and repay their faith in me.”
Mark Patterson (USA). Age: 59. Born: Port Elizabeth, SA. Lives: Bronxville, New York State, USA:
“After being restrained by the FIA homologation stranglehold for the first half of the 2010 season, being set free to compete on equal terms at the Algarve last year made us all feel like we were in the field for the first time - and proved it with our inaugural season's first points of the year. So obviously we're roaring to get back there to see if we can do it again. This is a real driver's track – demanding, punishing and exciting with wonderful elevation changes and a ‘gulper’ of a final turn when attacked. Apart from the Rolex 24 in January and an FIA GT3 test in February, I've been chomping at the bit and can't wait to get into full race mode in the Audi again. This time last year us drivers hadn’t seen the majority of tracks or done much mileage in the R8 LMS so it’s a very different recipe this season. United Autosports has achieved endurance and a sprint race podiums – a race win is our goal this year.”
#23 Legends of Motorsport – Audi R8 LMS
Matt Bell (GB). Age: 21. Born: Newcastle-upon-Tyne, GB. Lives: Barningham, North Yorks, GB:
“Portimão holds great memories for us from last September. I'm excited to get back there and aim for a couple of steps higher on the rostrum! It’s a very difficult track from a driver’s perspective, particularly the second sector which is very technical and incorporates huge elevation changes which adds to the challenge of being quick. With a full year under my belt plus a good pre-season testing program I am confident we can be serious contenders for the top step at every race this year. But this depends on the Balance of Performance which crippled our Audi for eight out of 12 races last year so hopefully things will be more even from the start and we can compete on a level playing field.”
Zak Brown (USA). Age: 39. Born: Los Angeles, California, USA. Lives: Carmel, Indiana, USA:
“I'm very excited for the first event to be at the Algarve track. We were very competitive there last year and I qualified on the front row and enjoyed our first podium of the season there so I have high expectations for us on our return. It’s a fantastic track featuring every type of corner you can imagine – very challenging but hugely rewarding. I cannot wait for the season to start – it’s been a long break since October. It’s going to be another very competitive year in which I hope United Autosports achieves a number of podium results although my concern is that the organizers immediately get the ‘Balance of Performance’ right. The Audi’s handicap for the first half of the season was such a disappointment. With 12 months of FIA racing under our belts, assuming the BoP is fair, we will not have any excuses.”
Richard Dean (GB), Managing Director & Co-Owner of United Autosports:
“The opening rounds of the 2011 FIA GT3 couldn’t be starting at a better track for us. It was the moment we seemed to turn a competitive corner in our first year, Zak qualifying on the front row and Matt backing that up with a great podium for the pairing. I think we all love the circuit layout, the facilities and more often than not the weather. Racing in the Algarve for me underlines everything I love about motorsport and how lucky we are to work in this profession. A good result in Portugal will set the tone for the year and hopefully we can start the season where we left 2010, on the podium – especially having got off to a flying start in the British GT Championship recently.”
Created in 2009, United Autosports is co-owned by American Zak Brown and Briton Richard Dean, both successful entrepreneurs and international race car drivers. The unique Anglo-American racing team fields GT3 class Audi R8 LMS sports cars from its United Kingdom headquarters in Leeds. It also races a fleet of “Legends of Motorsports” historic racing cars from its US facility in Indianapolis, Indiana. In 2011, the team competes in full seasons of FIA GT3 European Championship, Avon Tyres British GT Championship and the “Legends of Motorsports” series. It will additionally contest selected GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series events, the 24 Hours of Spa (Belgium) and Macau GT Cup race (China).
Audi R8 LMS
V10 5.2-liter engine, 4 valves per cylinder, petrol direct injection, 365-412 kW (496-560 PS), 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. Won seven championships across Europe in 2009-2010 plus Spa 24 Hours class victory in début 2009 season and Nürburgring 24 Hours class victories in 2009-2010 and scoring a total 64 victories.
* Bell, Brown, Osborne & Patterson biographies plus team & car profiles are available on the United Autosports website http://www.unitedautosports.com/
* A comprehensive library of Editorial Copyright Free photographs can be downloaded at www.flickr.com/unitedautosports/sets
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