Filipe Albuquerque will return to the European Le Mans Series in 2017 after being confirmed as the third and final driver in United Autosports’ LMP2 line-up.
The Portuguese racer joins the already confirmed Hugo de Sadeleer and Will Owen in the squad’s Ligier JS P217 for the ELMS season, and the move continues his career in LMP2 after last year being a part of the RGR Sport by Morand squad in the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Albuquerque helped RGR Sport take two race victories alongside Ricardo Gonzalez and Bruno Senna, but is happy to be switching championships to race alongside Swiss racer de Sadeleer and American racer Owen.
“I am really happy to join United Autosports,” said Albuquerque. “They are a very experienced team – they won the LMP3 ELMS last year so they really know what they are doing. This year will be my third ELMS season. I have been close to winning it before and I will work hard to make it happen this year especially finishing again in Portugal at a track that I really like.
“I am looking forward to working with two young guns. I already know Will as he tested with me at Bahrain last year and he was very fast. It will be a challenge for him to learn all the tracks but I am sure I can guide him well as we did at the rookie test.
“As for Hugo, he comes from Formula Renault, a series that I know very well, so it will be beneficial to him knowing all the tracks. He will have to deal with all the traps that an endurance race has but I am confident he will do fine too.
“I am optimistic about our Ligier JS P217 chassis. I have already done some testing and development, of course the competition will be hard but I think Ligier have done a great job on this car.”
Richard Dean, the Team Owner and Managing Director of United Autosports, is delighted to have signed someone of the calibre of Albuquerque to the team, and feels that the Portuguese racer can help them make a championship charge in 2017.
“We have been chasing a top-line experienced and proven race winner to complete our line up in LMP2,” said Dean. “Filipe is everything we have been looking for. His ability to bring on our two exciting young prospects was a key factor in this decision.
“It is such an exciting time for United Autosports but we have a lot to learn in LMP2 for both the Le Mans 24 Hours and the ELMS. Having Filipe in our team is reassuring and confidence inspiring and I think shows our intentions to attack 2017 in the same way we did LMP3 in 2016.”
Although Albuquerque has been confirmed for ELMS, there are no plans yet for him to join de Sadeleer and Owen in the team for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with that announcement still to be made.