At the end of a debut season that visited eight countries for 17 races in and several championship United Autosports scored their best result of the year in the final race of the year, Danny Watts taking third place in the GT Cup race at Macau.
Reprising his driving role for the team after the 1000km of Zhuhai Watts had started the ten lap race from third. However, after an extensive clean-up from an earlier race the first two laps of the GT race were run behind the safety car until the cement dust was cleared from the fast sweeper that is turn one on the Guia circuit.
Once released from behind the safety car the field generally held station around the twisting track, Watts holding third until the checkered flag. Hong Kong based Briton Richard Meins had started eighth in the 33-car field and though he slipped back to ninth due to a lack of grip from his Audi R8 LMS he climbed back to tenth before being forced to retire on the eighth lap of the 3.8 mile track.
Watts' podium joins the first year haul of accolades, the Anglo-American team haing taken class podiums at the Spa 24 Hours and 1000km of Zhuhai. It also added to Watt's personal haul of Macau GT race podiums, following a second and third in the last two years.
“My best opportunity for gaining a place was going into Lisboa on the first lap but with the race starting behind the Safety Car for two laps, I just didn't have sufficient heat in the tires to challenge,” said Watts. “I attacked and pushed as hard as I possibly could and drove my heart out, I really wanted my first Macau GT race win but it wasn't to be and that maiden GT victory continues to elude me. The grip level didn't really come in for some reason and I had to take care of the brakes at times – there was absolutely nothing more to come.”
“After the last two days, I couldn't believe that the race ran cleanly without any crashes – just when I needed a Safety Car it never came! But I've had a great time, really enjoyed myself racing for United Autosports again and just thoroughly love Macau.”
The team's cars will arrive back their Yorkshire base on December 31, with on almost immediately being dispatched to the Hilton Metropole Hotel to promote January's Autosport International Show.
The month should also herald the delivery of a new car from Audi before winter testing begins in February before 2011 campaigns in both the FIA GT3 European Championship and British GT Championship.
“We cannot be disappointed with a podium although it would have been nice to finish our first year off on the top step,” enthused team co-owner and MD Richard Dean. “I'm a little frustrated that we didn't challenge for the race win. Our team came here as Macau virgins and perhaps that showed in the race – we will certainly do things differently when we come back to this unique race track again. It demands a different approach and that showed as the guys who finished in front of us are Macau 'veterans' while the regulations are not as closely matched to the GT3 rules that we abide to in Europe so we've learned lessons the hard way. I'm also certain that Audi will learn from its first visit to Macau with the R8 LMS.”
“Having started our year off at Oulton Park in April, to finish our dÃ©but season off with another rostrum result, on the other side of the world here in Macau, we've all got to be proud of ourselves. It's been an amazing 'road trip' for our team, comprising of a small number of permanent staff, who had not even started work on the Audi project this time last year. We've made a solid start and one which we plan to build on in 2011.”