- Young British hotshot and BRDC Rising Star Matt Bell makes Dubai debut
- Quality four man line-up in race-winning Audi R8 LMS
- Multi-national drivers in Anglo-American team
- Experience is key ingredient for United Autosports inaugural Dubai visit
United Autosports has assembled a class quartet of GT racers for its first attempt to win the seventh running of the Dunlop 24H Dubai, which kicks off the new 2012 season on January 12 – 14. Talented young United Autosports regular driver, Matt Bell (GB) will be one of four racing the team's #26 Audi R8 LMS GT3 at the Dubai Autodrome.
The 22-year old BRDC Rising Star will be pitted alongside US-based South African Mark Patterson (USA), Hong Kong's Frank Yu (HK) and newcomer to the United Autosports team, New Zealander Roger Wills (NZ), this trio bringing a wealth of endurance ability and racing experience to the Middle East race.
The Anglo-American team, based in Leeds, has a truly international line-up of drivers for its 2012 season opener and first visit to Dubai for the start the endurance racing year. United Autosports will be pitted against the best competition of more than 80 entries of GTs, touring cars and 24H Specials.
There has been no slowing down over the winter for the team, which is co-owned by American, Zak Brown and Briton, Richard Dean, and December has proved to be as busy as the rest of the year as the team prepares for the full schedule of races planned for next year, starting with the trio of races in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Bathurst.
These events will give the young team valuable experience before it begins its third season in the Blancpain Endurance Series and the British GT Championship.
On Thursday, January 12, there will be two free practice sessions followed by qualifying, partly split up into various classes. There will be two hours of night practice on Thursday evening before the race starts on Friday, January 13, at 14.00 (local time) and will end 24 hours later.
As well as Radio Le Mans reporting live on the event for the first time, Motors TV will again be covering this international event.
Thursday 12 January 2012
11:30 – 12:15 Dunlop 24H Dubai Free Practice 1
13:15 – 14:45 Dunlop 24H Dubai Free Practice 2
15:00 – 16:00 Dunlop 24H Dubai Qualification All Classes
16:15 – 16:45 Dunlop 24H Dubai Qualification Class A1 up to A5, D1, D2, A3T
17:00 – 17:30 Dunlop 24H Dubai Qualification Class A6, SP2-GT3A, SP3-GT4A, 997
18:00 – 20:00 Dunlop 24H Dubai Night Practice
Friday 13 January 2012
10:30 – 11:00 Dunlop 24H Dubai Warm up
12:00 – 13:00 Break including Pit Road Walkabout
13.00 Start grid of the Dunlop 24H Dubai
14:00 hours Start of the Dunlop 24H Dubai
Saturday 14 January 2012
14:00 Finish of the Dunlop 24H Dubai
Matt Bell (GB), Age 22. Born: Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK. Lives: Barningham, nr Richmond UK.
"I've never raced in Dubai before but from what I've seen on videos it looks like a very good circuit. I'm very excited about racing in the Dubai 24H and although the race only has a short history, you can tell it has gathered huge prestige in recent years by looking at the extremely competitive entry list. It is also a great way to interrupt the winter break with some racing, which will be very beneficial during the European pre-season testing period that follows in February and March. As we were front runners all year in the British GT series, I am confident the Audi R8 LMS will be very competitive in the race, and in Dubai everyone runs the same Dunlop tyres, so I expect to be challenging the top guys."
Mark Patterson (US), Age 59. Born: Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Lives: Bronxville, NY, USA
"I've been fortunate enough to race on a dozen current and previous F1 tracks around the world, including Spa, Shanghai, Montreal, Indianapolis and Silverstone, etc, so racing at a few more simply adds to the palette of experiences as well as being able to enjoy an endurance race on tracks such as these. As there are multiple classes in this race, keeping the car clean and fast are the two primary goals. We have a great line up of drivers with tons of endurance racing experience, so I know we'll all aim to bring the Audi home near the front. Matt is an unbelievably good young up-and-coming British pro racing talent and we shared an Audi at the Spa 24 Hours this year and both were happy with our competitive lap times. United Autosports and I have had a very exciting and rewarding two year relationship that will spill into 2012 as well. They are great team owners and always the neatest most professional outfit on the grid."
Frank Yu (HK), Age: 42. Born: Hong Kong. Lives: Hong Kong
"I competed in the Dubai 24H in 2010 with Richard as my team mate. I like the track layout, but I dislike the dust, which makes the corner's grip level sometimes unpredictable. The atmosphere in Dubai is great and the 80 plus car grid is amazing. The Audi has done a number of endurance races all over the world with proven reliability and good results so I'm quite confident the car will do well. United Autosports is a very professional team, the crew members are great to work with and Richard is a good leader and friend. I can't wait to be there."
Roger Wills (NZ), Age 43. Born: New Zealand. Lives: New Zealand
"As this is my first time racing at Dubai, I'll have to book some time on the simulator to learn the circuit before going out there. This is also my first race in the Audi A8 LMS, having previously competed in an Aston Martin, Ferraris and the McLaren MP4-12C GT3 to date. The Audi seems like a really well-developed car, always runs well and I'm excited about the chance to race it. I've only met Matt Bell previously as I have driven with his brother Rob in the McLaren, but all the guys bring a lot of experience so I'm really looking forward to racing with them.
"I'm a patron of the Teenage Cancer Trust which does amazing work for young people with cancer, and I will run their logos on my suit and on the car to give them some exposure. I did my first endurance race at Spa in 2010, but I'm pleased to be racing with United Autosports this time as they've really impressed me. The cars are always incredibly well-prepared and run, and the whole team exudes professionalism. They also seem to be a team that looks like they're having a lot of fun. Being a hobby for me, not a job, these are all important characteristics for a team. I'm really excited about joining them and hope this will be the start of a longer relationship with the team."
Richard Dean (GB), Managing Director & Co-Owner of United Autosports:
"Although I raced myself in Dubai in 2010, it's the first time the team has competed in the Middle East. We're just two years old as a team and we're branching out into yet another continent. It feels quite a privilege to be able to take part in these high-profile races across the world after such a short time.
"This line-up we're taking to Dubai gives us a great combination of youth and experience. Matt Bell is fast, there is no doubt about that, but his 24 hour experience is limited to just Spa in 2011. I have ultimate faith in Matt every time he gets in the car. I shared a car with Frank in the 2010 Dubai 24 hour race and I wouldn't hesitate to sit alongside Frank in any long distance race anywhere in the world. Mark has been with the team for two years and he's the ideal guy in a long distance race because he is quick, dependable and supremely consistent. Mark as a character also brings something unique to the team and the guys love working with him. It's Roger first race with the team but we've raced against him at the Spa 24 for two years; he won his class in 2010 and finished in the McLaren's début in 2011. For a non-professional driver who has spent most of his life concentrating on his business, he's clearly now a very serious racing driver. He's never seems to be out of a car, he comes highly recommended and I'm looking forward to working with him."
- ENDS -
For immediate release:
5th December 2011
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