Tuesday, September 20, 2011

United Autosports Sets Sights On Immediately Retaking British GT Championship Lead

• Bell & Guasch aiming for second victory in longest BGT race of season
• Team to play major role in three pit-stop, three-hour Donington GT race
• Blundell earns Anglo-American team best GRAND-AM start of the season
The penultimate round of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship is staged at Donington Park (GB) on Sunday (September 25) with United Autosports determined to leave the historic British race venue back in the lead of the 10-race series. Matt Bell (GB) and Mike Guasch (USA) had led the series in their #23 Molecule Audi R8 LMS since winning round three until five minutes from the finish of round eight at Rockingham.

Guasch, challenging the #10 Ferrari of main title rivals Glynn Geddie/Jim Geddie for second place, slipped two positions in the fierce four-car battle for the runner-up spot which ultimately demoted Bell & Guasch to second place in the title race. The three-hour race featuring three, mandatory pit-stops at the fast, sweeping 2.5-mile Donington Park circuit is the longest on the BGT calendar and will finish in the twilight of evening.

It marks the first race at the track located near Nottingham for United Autosports, Guasch and the V10-engined Audi R8 LMS that has now won over 100 races worldwide since its race début in 2009.

Donington was the first permanent “parkland” circuit in England. It’s first motorcycle race took place on Whit Monday 1931 on the narrow lanes of the Donington Hall Estate. In 1933, the track was widened, made permanent and became a venue for Grand Prix car racing that decade. United Autosports tested at the venue earlier this month.

Avon Tyres British GT Championship (after eight rounds): 1 Geddie/Geddie, 106.5-points
2 Matt Bell & Mike Guasch, 101.5pts
3 Griffin/Cameron, 91pts
21 John Bintcliffe & Jay Palmer, 23pts

Provisional Timetable: Saturday September 24 – 0900-1000 Practice 1; 1215-1315 Practice 2; 1700-1755 Qualifying
Sunday September 25 – 1135-1145 Warm-up; 1550-1850 Race

* All times are UK “local”
#23 Molecule – Audi R8 LMS Matt Bell (GB). Age: 21. Born: Newcastle-upon-Tyne, T&W. Lives: Barningham, N. Yorks, England: “My first ever car race was at Donington in 2009 when I drove a Ginetta G20 at a ‘club’ event. Donington is a really fast, flowing circuit with great elevation and a lot of high-speed corners. In my opinion it is one of the best racing circuits in Britain. It’ll be a tough race but we looked competitive when we test there. I am really looking forward to going there and hopefully re-taking the championship lead.”

Michael Guasch (USA). Age: 53. Born: Palo Alto, California. Lives: Walnut Creek, California, USA: “Losing out on a top-three at Rockingham was hugely disappointing. I was faster than Geddie everywhere except the triple left hand sweeper. He was holding me up which then allowed the fourth and fifth placed Ferraris to catch us making it a four-car battle for second place. Geddie seemed slow away from Turn 3, I was on his bumper but had to back off momentarily but that’s all it took for me to get overtaken by two cars. The competition is so close, there is no room for any loss of time or errors. I’m not sure how our pace at Donington will compare to Ferrari. With it being a three hour, three pit-stop race the result could all be down to the less mistakes made during the pit-stops.”

#24 Teknavo – Audi R8 LMS John Bintcliffe (GB). Age: 45. Born: Bridlington, E. Yorks. Lives: Harrogate, N. Yorkshire, England.
“We did some set up work when we tested at Donington earlier this month while of course it’s a place I raced an Audi A4 in the British Touring Car Championship so I know my around the place pretty much. So long as the weather is kind allowing us to get a good set-up in practice then we should be in for a good race.”

Jay Palmer (GB). Age: 38. Born: Harrogate. Lives: Harrogate & London, England / Barbados.
“I have raced there several times I have always found it to be a great track and am really looking forward to racing the Audi with the upgrade kit on it. We ran at Donington this month and I was delighted with the handling of the Audi so I’m very much looking forward to racing there. It is a three hour race and normally the longer event favors the R8 LMS.”

Richard Dean (GB), Managing Director & Co-Owner of United Autosports: “Donington, three hours, mandatory three pit-stops which is unusual in the BGT so a lot of team work will have to come into play. We have done a test at Donington which was good. It is a high downforce track which the Ferrari 458 suits but hopefully as a team, we can claw some time back during the pit-stops.”

Photo courtesy of John Dagys
United Autosports with Michael Shank Racing #23 Ford-Riley lines-up fifth on grid for GRAND-AM finale The United Autosports with Michael Shank Racing #23 Ford-Riley of Mark Blundell (GB) and Zak Brown (USA) starts the EMCO Gears Classic race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course from fifth on the 29-car grid tomorrow (September 17). Blundell set a personal fastest time of 1min 17.890secs, an average speed of 104.362mph around the 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course in today’s 15mins time trials. Blundell, who had been on the front row briefly, was demoted from a second row start in the closing minutes but nevertheless achieved the #23 car’s best qualifying performance of the season.

The 2.75hr race, scheduled to begin 3pm (Eastern), is the final round in this year’s GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series by Crown Royal Cask No.16.

#23 – UBS / Volley / IWI Watches – Riley-Ford Qualifying: 5th Blundell, 1min 17.890secs (104.362mph).
Mark Blundell (GB). Age: 45. Born: Barnet, England. Lives: Royston, England:
“I’m reasonably happy with qualifying – the team did a great job with all the guys working hard. We improved the car and I think we could have gone quicker but I spun pushing too hard. Zak and I start from a good grid position and we’ve a good racecar. It’s going to be a tough and grueling race.”

Zak Brown (USA). Age: 39. Born: Los Angeles, California, USA. Lives: Carmel, Indiana, USA:
“Mark did a fantastic job in qualifying and it shows how far we’ve all come if we’re a little disappointed with a P5 start. I’m looking forward to see what the race brings us.”

Mike Shank (USA), Team Owner of Michael Shank Racing: “I’m super happy with the progress that Mark and Zak made with the 23 car. We’re P5 by a hundredth of a second. It looks like we’re in pretty good shape for the race.”


United Autosports 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 September 16, 2011
* Bell, Bintcliffe, Blundell, Brown, 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

For further information, please contact:

Martyn Pass
Audi UK Sport Press
T +44 1564 824600
M +44 7801 859502
E audiuk-motorsport@earthlink.net
Skype martyn.pass

For further information on-event at Donington Park, please contact:

Jay Ashton
M +44 7919 186291
E jay@unitedautosports.com

For further information on-event at Mid-Ohio, please contact:

Matt Cleary
Sunday Group Management
M 317.908.2975
E media@sundaymanagement.com

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