After an official launch that included an appearance by Bernie Ecclestone the American owned, British based team United Autosports is ready to make its debut in the FIA GT3 European Championship at Silverstone this weekend.
The team, which will enter a brace of Audi R8 LMS in the series spent the off-season testing, travelling to Portimao in Portugal and contesting the opening British GT weekend at Oulton Park.
“The opening rounds of the FIA series at Silverstone have come around very quickly!” said team MD and co-owner Richard Dean. “United Autosports made its race dÃ©but in the opening rounds of the British GT Championship over Easter. Those 'warm-up' races were a valuable experience in preparation for the FIA GT3 European Championship which is our main focus in the team's first year of competition. We have tested intensively since getting our 2010 specification R8 LMS GT3 cars. Personally I can't wait to see our two cars on the Silverstone grid!”
Unlike at Oulton Park the quartet of drivers – Americans Michael Guasch, Mark Patterson and Zak Brown plus young Briton Matt Bell – will not be at such a disadvantage when it comes to track knowledge, with the race falling on the first weekend for Silverstone's brand new 'Arena' layout presenting a new challenge to all the drivers in the series.
“No one driver or single team has an advantage as we'll be racing on a 'new' configuration of track at Silverstone which hopefully will be a nice leveller for us,” describes Patterson. “We tested on Silverstone's 'old' Grand Prix circuit last month and that was successful with all of us getting down to competitive lap times despite our lack of track knowledge.”
While Patterson is optimistic of his chances, admitting he'll be “shooting for the podium” his driving partner in the no.22 Molecule/Cerutti backed car Guasch is setting his sights lower, at least at first.
“My aim is a top-10 finish,” he says agreeing with Zak Brown, who will join Bell in the no.23 car. “We're new to the series and the tracks, and to the Audi R8 LMS for that matter. So long as we can score points in both races that would be an ideal way to start the season.”
“I think we'll be competitive but it won't be easy – we'll just have to bring our best game to the track.”
36 cars are entered for the series, which will contest a pair of one hour races, the first at 2:15pm BST on Saturday and the second at 12:15pm BST on Sunday. Both races will be streamed at www.gt3europe.com.