United Autosports will begin its defence of the GT Cup Championship this weekend at Donington Park with Phil Burgan behind the wheel of the #23 Audi R8 LMS Ultra.
This year will be the first time an Audi has regularly competed in the series, with United Autosports previously using a McLaren MP4-12C GT3. However, this car is certainly not unusual to the team, having been used every year since 2010 by it in various events such as the FIA GT3 European Championship, British GT Championship, Intercontinental Le Mans Cup, Macau GT Cup, 24 Hours of Spa, Dubai 24 Hours, Gulf 12 Hours and Bathurst 12 Hour.
Last year, Jim Geddie won the championship for UA, winning the GT Cup title as well as the GTO class championship at Oulton Park. Burgan, who will contest this season for the team, made his debut at the same race, and finished on the podium despite difficult weather conditions.
Phil Burgan has a strong motorsports history: “I was a late starter in motorsport. I raced in the UK Ferrari Championship in 1996 before competing in the European Ferrari Challenge (1997-99) but then ‘retired’ from racing in order to concentrate on my businesses. I came out of retirement to compete in the 2006 Trofeo Maserati Championship then focussed on historic rallying. I’ve done five Monte Carlo Classic rallies, the Pirelli Marathon, Tour de Corse and did the 2013 Peking-Paris Motor Challenge endurance rally. Last year I raced in three Trofeo Maserati events at Silverstone, Shanghai and Abu Dhabi plus the Oulton race with United.”
Already, Phil has completed eight testing days this year in the Audi, driving over 1000 miles at Cartagena, Donington Park, Rockingham and Snetterton. This weekend, he will contest three races in the Audi: a 50 minutes main race on Saturday, followed by two 25 minute sprint races on Sunday.
“I’m not competing in this year’s GT Cup Championship to make up the numbers,” continues Burgan. “My aim will be to score podiums and hopefully a win or two during the season. I’m with a championship winning team, the Audi is good, and I’m getting to grips with a car featuring a lot of aero and many electronic aids – features I’m not used to previously. Additionally I haven’t raced on any British tracks since 1996, apart from Oulton last year, combined with the fact that I’m racing alone and will therefore be up against some handy professional drivers so it’s going to be a steep learning curve.
“It’s great to be back racing,” says Richard Dean, Team Owner and Managing Director of United Autosports. “We’re out at Donington Park this weekend which marks our defence of the overall 2014 GT Cup and GTO titles. This year we return with a different car and driver combination in the form of the Audi R8 LMS and Phil Burgan who has had a lengthy break from circuit racing. We’ve completed a very positive pre-season test programme and we expect to be competitive. That said, the championship looks even stronger this year in terms of drivers and teams.”
The 2015 GT Cup series will race at the following circuits: Brands Hatch, Rockingham, Silverstone, Snetterton and Oulton Park, however the opening round will take place this weekend at Donington Park in Derbyshire.