United Autosports have confirmed they will follow through with their planned expansion, outlined in September last year, committing to an LMP2 FIA World Endurance Championship entry for the 2019/20 season.
The Anglo-American team will remain with Ligier when they move to WEC, where they will field one car for all eight round of the championship, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans. This will be the first time the team has competed in a WEC round, apart from Le Mans.
“It’s been no secret that we have been trying to put a deal together to race in the FIA World Endurance Championship for some time now.” Team Owner and Managing Director Richard Dean stated. “It has relied on a lot of factors fitting together but I think it is the perfect time for United Autosports to make the next step in sports car racing.
“The [WEC] championship visits some fantastic circuits too – some we have been to before and some will be new to us, but I’m looking forward to the new challenge ahead.”
Phil Hanson and Filipe Albuquerque have been confirmed as part of the team’s driver line up, but a third driver is yet to be announced. It is likely that for the four-hour rounds only two drivers will climb into the cockpit of their Ligier JS P217 for pit stop time saving, but a third driver will be needed for the longer race durations.
Hanson expressed his excitement to start racing in WEC and his pleasure to be taking his next step with United Autosports: “They [United Autosports] have nurtured me and helped my development as a driver significantly in the last year so I’m looking forward to continuing with the team in a very professional environment.
“I’m excited to be driving on new circuits too such as Sao Paulo and Bahrain. They have definitely been on my radar of circuits I’ve wanted to race at.”
“I’m excited to be racing in the 2019 ELMS and then going into the FIA WEC with them [United Autosports].” Albuquerque said, happy to be returning to WEC where he feels he has “unfinished business”. “It’s a good relationship we have together and we have been winning some races so why not continue and let’s see where we end up.”
“We have developed a great relationship with Phil and Filipe and they make a fantastic pairing.” added Team Owner and Chairman Zak Brown. “We are still working on the third driver but for now, we are excited for what 2019 brings.”
United Autosports have been racing with Ligier since 2016 and are excited to continue their working relationship with the team. Dean stated that United Autosport “have ultimate belief in Ligier Automotive and relish this opportunity to take on a world championship with their full support.”
The team will continue with other programmes during the year, including the Asian Le Mans Series and European Le Mans Series.