United Autosports make January plans for the 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona


United Autosports Team Owners Zak Brown and Richard Dean, with European Le Mans Series LMP2 drivers Hugo de Sadeleer and Will Owen - Credit: United Autosport

United Autosports will make their first appearance at Daytona in what will be seven years as they confirm plans to race in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in 2018.

While the team are preparing for their first European Le Mans Series campaign in the LMP2 class in their new Ligier JS P217, it hasn’t stopped them from confirming that the same car will be travelling across the Atlantic to tackle the American season-opener in Florida.

Taking on the race is the squad’s ELMS driver Will Owen who will be making his debut at the American classic. He said: “I’m excited to bring my endurance racing venture back home to the United States. I have enjoyed working with United a lot so far; I couldn’t think of a better opportunity to begin 2018 with. Although the race is pretty far away at this point, it’s nice to have that extra time to prepare for it.

“I watched the 2017 race, which was fantastic, so I’m honored to be part of the event. I’ve never raced at Daytona but I appreciate that it will come with new challenges compared to our other races this year.”

Of course this isn’t the first time the Anglo-American team have taken on Daytona as back in 2011 team owner Zak Brown joined Martin Brundle, Mark Blundell and Mark Patterson behind the wheel of a Riley-Ford Daytona Prototype in the days of Grand-Am. They finished fourth back then, only four seconds behind the winner, but Brown is already targeting a better result.

“I’m so excited United Autosports are racing at the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona. It’s such a great event and I’m really proud to be taking our team there with the Ligier JS P217,” Brown said. “The last time we went there as a team, I was racing and we finished fourth. Hopefully this time we can get on the podium!”

IMSA President Scott Atherton, who is in charge of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, welcomed United Autosports to the speedway: “Following an extremely successful 2017 Rolex 24 At Daytona, we are delighted that United Autosports already has confirmed its plans to participate in the 2018 Rolex 24.

“Zak Brown and Richard Dean clearly have built a world-class race team in United Autosports, which is a prerequisite for success in the Rolex 24 and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. We extend a warm welcome to Will Owen, Zak, Richard and all associated with United Autosports and wish them the best of luck as they embark on this program.”

The 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona starts on 27 January 2018.