· Bell & Guasch revved-up for final stages of championship title push
· Bintcliffe & Palmer aim for another top-five finish on team's first-ever Rockingham race visit
Bell & Guasch enjoy a slender two-point lead with four races remaining – which includes the two, one-hour races at Rockingham.
The event marks the first time United Autosports and the Audi R8 LMS have ever raced on the 1.94-mile track near Corby, Northamptonshire, but Bell and Guasch are eager to add to their impressive results tally; victory (Snetterton), second (Oulton Park), third (Oulton Park), fourth and sixth placings (both Spa).
Meanwhile racing returnees John Bintcliffe and Jay Palmer are aiming to improve on their best placing of fifth place (Snetterton) to haul themselves inside the championship top-10 in what is the Anglo-American team’s maiden BGT season.
A field in excess of 22 cars is expected at Rockingham with 16 of them contesting the top-level GT3 category. Rockingham’s twin races are the last one-hour events on the British GT calendar: in late September the crews face their toughest test of the year, a three-hour classic at Donington Park, which will be followed by a two-hour curtain closer at Silverstone in October.
Avon Tyres British GT Championship (after six rounds):
1 Matt Bell & Mike Guasch, 90.5-points
2 Geddie/Geddie, 88.5pts
3 Griffin/Cameron, 76pts
12 John Bintcliffe & Jay Palmer, 23pts
Saturday September 3 – 0900-1000 Practice 1; 1145-1245 Practice; 1620-1655 Qualifying
Sunday September 4 – 1000-1010 Warm-up; 1250-1350 Race 1; 1625-1725 Race 2
* All times are UK “local”
Matt Bell (GB). Age: 21. Born: Newcastle-upon-Tyne, T&W. Lives: Barningham, N. Yorks, England:
“I've had two rounds of the FIA GT3 series plus the Spa 24 Hours to keep me busy since the last BGT race. I raced at Rockingham in last season’s Ginetta G50 Championship but tested the Audi pre-season there this year. The title race is very close so Mike and I must avoid any non-scores. That said, we’ll focus on winning rather than settling for points. We have some very experienced and quick competitors chasing us, so if we take our foot off the gas it will give them the upper hand heading into the final races. I would prefer to be at the top heading into the last round than chasing the leaders!”
Michael Guasch (USA). Age: 53. Born: Palo Alto, California. Lives: Walnut Creek, California, USA:
“I have twice tested at Rockingham, neither occasion in the R8 LMS, and found the track fun to drive. It has a little bit of everything – tight and technical turns plus high-speed ones and I believe the Audi will work well there. Since Spa, I’ve been testing my Pro Formula Mazda back home in California to stay in shape and will also take in a Formula Car Challenge Race at Infineon Raceway in California this coming weekend. The BGT Championship appears to get more competitive with every race. We must push hard, especially in qualifying.”
John Bintcliffe (GB). Age: 45. Born: Bridlington, E. Yorks. Lives: Harrogate, N. Yorkshire, England & Jay Palmer (GB). Age: 38. Born: Harrogate. Lives: Harrogate & London, England / Barbados.
Richard Dean (GB), Managing Director & Co-Owner of United Autosports:
“Our team has been busy since Spa BGT, taking in two FIA races at Paul Ricard, the Spa 24 Hours, and then another two FIA races in Slovakia. We also competed in a GRAND-AM race at Watkins Glen, so have been busy both sides of the Atlantic. This event will mark United Autosports’ first races at Rockingham and happens to be the only track in the UK that I haven't personally raced at. We tested there earlier in the year but unfortunately our running was restricted by fog! We have led the British series since May but haven't won since May so I think that confirms points mean prizes. We must be mindful of strong finishes are preferable to going for individual glory. I believe our pace is getting better and the Balance of Performance is getting more even as the season progresses. Rockingham should suit the Audi so I think two podiums are within our reach.”
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, Avon radial tires. Start weight 1,305kg. 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.
Date of issue: Friday August 26, 2011
* Bell, Bintcliffe, Guasch & Palmer 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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