Norris and Di Resta complete ‘productive’ first United Autosports test

Credit: United Autosports

Lando Norris and Paul di Resta completed their first runs with United Autosports at Paul Ricard in preparation for an assault on the 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Piloting the team’s current Ligier JS P217 LMP2 car – which the team uses in the European Le Mans Series – Norris and di Resta shared duties for a two-day test at the Le Castellet circuit to acclimatise to the endurance prototype car.

FIA Formula 3 European Championship winner Norris will share duties at Daytona with Fernando Alonso and Philip Hanson, the latter of whom has signed to United Autosports’ ELMS squad for 2018.

Norris acknowledged that the test was about building his confidence in the car, but felt that he needed more running prior to Daytona – which will take place in the Roar before the Rolex 24 event.

“I enjoyed the experience, the Ligier is a fun car to drive,” said Norris. “I’m now really looking forward to getting to Daytona. 

“I’ve had limited running over the past two days and it’s a tricky car to nail everything and bring it all together – I wasn’t 100% comfortable with the car, but United will modify my seat and the rest is down to me clocking up more miles which I’ll do at the Roar.

“It was actually nice to have a roof over my head for a change as my head wasn’t buffeted around by the wind!”

Di Resta was equally effusive, enjoying his first experience of LMP2 machinery before having to fly to Brazil after the first day – continuing with his Formula 1 reserve duties with Williams Martini Racing.

“I could only spend the first day at Paul Ricard before I headed to Brazil [for the Grand Prix].

“It was an interesting and good experience to see what the LMP2 Ligier is all about as the Rolex event is not that far away. It’s definitely a fun car to drive.

“It was the first time I have ever shared a car on a test day and despite the height difference with Lando, we worked well together, and it was really a good, fun day.”

Team owner Zak Brown praised the duo’s ‘productive’ work in the test, and was impressed with their ability to get used to the Ligier.

“It’s been a good opportunity for Lando and Paul to acclimatise themselves with the Ligier for the very first time.

“By all accounts, both did a very good job, which comes as no great surprise to me.”