United Autosports will begin their third year of GT racing competition with a single car entry in the Dubai 24 Hours driven by a quartet of experienced drivers. It will be their first attempt at the the winter endurance race.
Team MD and co-owner Richard Dean said; “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.”
The team will enter a single Audi R8 LMS – the model of car the Anglo-American team has raced in Britain and internationally since the beginning of the 2010 season.
As well the January 12-14 event being United Autosports' first Dubai 24 Hours it will also be the first time for three of the team's four drivers, including 22-year-old Matt Bell, who drove for the team in the Avon Tyres British GT Championship throughout 2011.
Bell will be joined by Mark Patterson – another United Autosports regular – Frank Yu and New Zealander Roger Wills, who will in his first race with the team and in the Audi, though he has raced in a variety of GT machinery, including the McLaren MP4-12C in the 2011 Spa 24. The car will sport stickers for the Teenage Cancer Trust, of which Wills is a patron.
All four bring GT experience with them but only Hong Kong-based Yu has competed in the Dubai 24 in the past. “I competed in the Dubai 24H in 2010 with Richard as my team mate,” he said. “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.”
For the rest of the team their outlook is a mixture of anticipation and nerves.
“I’ve never raced in Dubai before but from what I’ve seen on videos it looks like a very good circuit,” said Bell. “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.”