United Autosports will begin the Avon Tyres British GT Championship with a pair of substitute drivers in their McLaren MP4-12C GT3.
For the series’ Easter Weekend opener Oulton Park Rob Bell and Roger Wills will come into the team to partner Zak Brown and Mark Blundell respectively as the Anglo-American team begin their first full British season running McLaren’s GT3 machine.
Experienced classic racer Wills will join Blundell, filling in for Richard Meins who was injured in a testing accident at the Cheshire track.
“On our second day I started to put in some decent lap times then in the afternoon session I put a rear wheel on the grass at the kink before the first chicane, and suffered a side impact with the tyre wall which unfortunately resulted in sustaining broken ribs and a fractured knee, not to mention the damage to the car,” Meins explained.
“I want to thank the marshals and medical staff at Oulton Park for a really professional job helping me out of the car and taking care of me in the medical centre, and to the paramedics and the staff at NHS Leighton Hospital in Crewe. It was not the start to the season I had hoped for, and to say I am very disappointed is an understatement, but I’m looking forward to getting back behind the wheel at Silverstone.”
Kiwi Wills has driven contemporary GT cars, racing with Jota Sport in 2010, winning the GT4 class at the Spa 24 Hours. He has also driven with United Autosports at the Dubai 24 Hours in the team’s Audi R8 LMS and comes to the team with some experience of the McLaren MP4-12C after being part of the car’s debut at the Spa 24 Hours in 2011.
“I’m delighted to be stepping into the car for Oulton Park, but I’m disappointed for Richard who is a good friend of mine, and I hope he makes a quick recovery,” said Wills. “I’ve driven the McLaren before, during the Spa 24 hours but it will be my first time in the British GT Championship and I am really looking forward to it. It’s great to be back with the team.”
Driver/team co-owner Zak Brown, meanwhile, will start the championship driving with Rob Bell, with regular intender teammate Alvaro Parente kept from the track by business commitments.
Bell, too, is an experienced man in GT equipment after racing in most of the world’s top sportscar series including drives at the endurance races of Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring. In 2012 he completed the full Blancpain Endurance Series in a McLaren MP4-12C GT3 entered by Gulf Racing UK.
His younger brother – Matt – will continue his own career with the Yorkshire based United Autosports squad, driving the team’s Audi R8 LMS ultra with Mark Patterson to complete the team’s three car effort for the British GT season.