- Daytona 24 Hours winner Ryan Dalziel heads team trio for United Autosports in Dubai and Abu Dhabi
- Venezuelan pair joins Dalziel in championship-winning Audi R8 LMS
- United Autosports announce second #36 car for Middle Eastern endurance races
Scottish Grand Am racer and winner of the prestigious 2010 Rolex 24 Daytona, Ryan Dalziel, spearheads a trio of prominent GT drivers in the United Autosports second car for the two New Year endurance races in the Dunlop 24 Dubai (January 12-14) and the Gulf 12 Hours at the Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi (January 20).
One of Scotland’s leading professional drivers, 29-year old Dalziel has earned many podium finishes in both the American Le Mans Series and Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series. In 2011 he completed a full season in Grand Am and selected races in ALMS, with a victory in the Grand Am Rolex season finalé at Mid Ohio and a second placing in the Sebring 12H being the highlights of the season.
Enzo Potolicchio and Alex Popow both made their series’ débuts in January’s Rolex 24 Daytona with the Starworks Motorsports team, the Venezuelan duo proving to be one of the surprise stories of the 2011 Grand Am series.
Popow and Dalziel teamed up for a third place finish at Watkins Glen in August, following an impressive opening stint by the 36-year-old Venezuelan which saw him battle for a top three placing overall. Then Potolicchio and Dalziel took a maiden victory for Starworks in the final race of the season at Mid-Ohio, when Potolicchio performed double duty between both of the team’s Rileys. As a result of their superb inaugural season, SPEED.com awarded the duo Rolex Series "Rookies of the Year" for 2011.
In addition, both drivers wound up victorious in other championships in which they competed alongside their Rolex Series campaigns. Popow was crowned Seat Leon Supercup Mexico champion, while finishing third in the Latin America Challenge Formula 2000 Championship as well. Potolicchio, meanwhile, earned his second consecutive Ferrari Challenge North America championship.
The three drivers bring their sponsors to the Middle East endurance races, in which they all compete for the first time. The #36 Audi R8 LMS will be in the livery of Duncan Batteries, Taxand and Soloson in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Entering its third season of GT racing, the Leeds-based Anglo-American team - co-owned by American Zak Brown and Briton, Richard Dean - has a busy and exciting 2012 schedule ahead of it as it bids for victory in its first Middle East foray.
Ryan Dalziel (GB). Age 29. Born: Glasgow, Scotland UK. Lives: Orlando, FL, USA:
“I am really excited about racing with United Autosports in these two amazing endurance races. I raced twice in Dubai back in ‘95 and ‘96, for the 24H of Dubai Go-Kart race, winning the event in ’95 and I’ve been hoping for the opportunity to go back ever since. I saw how professional the United Autosports team was when they raced in Grand Am last season and I know Richard Dean from my early years back in the late 90s racing in the UK. I already know we will be contenders for the victory, and Enzo and Alex have worked really hard in the past few months to make this happen and I am hugely grateful to them. We thought it would be great preparation for us to get these two endurance events under our belt before the Rolex 24 at Daytona the week after Abu Dhabi. Driving the Audi R8 LMS will be a first for all of us but Audi is no stranger to endurance success so we expect great things.”
Enzo Potolicchio (VE). Age 43. Lives: Caracas, Venezuela:
"I am really happy to make this deal happen for Alex, Ryan and myself. Alex and I have been working very hard with our sponsors over the past few months to add these amazing races to our already intense 2012 racing commitments. I have been a big admirer of Zak Brown and United Autosports since its creation and am honored to be able to field a car with my two friends and team mates. I have watched Formula 1 on these tracks and they look breath-taking. We are going there to try to get a victory but we want to have fun with our new challenge also."
Alex Popow (VE). Age 36. Lives: Lecheria, Venezuela:
“Racing in Dubai and Abu Dhabi is going to be very exciting and it will be a very busy month for the three of us. After Rolex Daytona testing from January on 6-8, we will fly to Dubai and Abu Dhabi for the two races, then return to the USA on January 22 for the Rolex 24 at Daytona that coming weekend. We are doing everything possible to push our performances to the next level and I believe this opportunity with United Autosports, driving the Audi R8 LMS, is the perfect warm up for our 2012 season."
Richard Dean (GB). Managing Director & Co-Owner of United Autosports:
“I have known Ryan for a long time and he was a fierce competitor when he was younger racing in Vauxhall Junior on the British Touring car package. He always gave us a hard time but we've always admired his ability and he was always fast and fair. Recently I have been watching his progress out in America where he's made quite a name for himself. Although I don't know much about Alex and Enzo, they have been performing strongly in the Grand Am series where United Autosports saw their ability from close quarters when we competed against them in the 2011 Rolex Daytona 24 hours. I believe Ryan set the fastest unofficial time for a GrandAm car in free practice at the same event, so I am looking forward to actually working on the same team as Ryan this time and not trying to beat him!”