United Autosports has revealed plans to enter the European Le Mans Series as an LMP3 customer, with a view to competing in the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The Anglo-American team has placed two orders for Ginetta’s new LMP3 racer, with one of the chassis set to be delivered next month. Both chassis will then undergo a development programme before completing a full ELMS campaign in 2016. As stated by the ACO, LMP3 cars will be eligible to compete at the French endurance classic next year, with a select few also taking part at this year’s test day.
“The timing is right for us to make the move to sports-prototypes and the hugely popular and ultra-competitive European Le Mans Series,” said team owner Richard Dean. “The Ginetta LM P3 car provides the perfect opportunity for teams and drivers and is a fantastically affordable racing car.
“This, along with our relationship with Ginetta and the fact that they are based next door to us in Garforth near Leeds, makes it an easy choice.”
Having made appearances at the Bathurst 12 Hour, Dubai 24 Hours and Macau GT Cup, as well national championships like the BTCC, British GT and more recently the GT Cup, United Autosports will be looking to further increase its involvement in international sportscar racing, especially following the introduction of the cost-effective LMP3 class.
“The new LM P3 category is a great concept and the ideal starting point for United Autosports to begin our dream journey to the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours,” explained team chairman Zak Brown.
“The European Le Mans Series is going from strength to strength while the collaboration between the Automobile Club de l’Ouest [ACO], the Le Mans organising club, and the IMSA sanctioned Tudor United Sportscar Championships, means there could also be opportunities to race in North America.”
The first chassis will undergo an intensive summer testing programme before making its race debut at the season-ending 4 Hours of Estoril in October. United Autosports will be joined by the six current Ginetta LMP3 entrants, as well as French squad Graff Racing which confirmed its purchase of a Ligier JS P3 chassis last week.