04 April, 2012
- United Autosports plays ace card in strong driver line-up for start of Blancpain Endurance Series
- Leeds-based team ready for Monza 3-hour race with all-new McLaren MP4-12C GT3 cars
- Bumper 53-car entry for Italian season opener with 10 team nationalities and 10 manufacturers
After weeks of preparation United Autosports undertakes the 2012 season with its mighty two-car, six-driver McLaren MP4-12C GT3 sportscar team at Monza, Italy on April 13/15 for the first of six rounds in the 2012 Blancpain Endurance Series.
With a superb cast of world-renowned drivers comprising David Brabham (Australia), Álvaro Parente (Portugal) and Matt Bell (England) in the Pro Cup car team, and Mark Blundell (England), Zak Brown (USA) and Mark Patterson (USA) in the Pro-Am crew, United Autosports fields outstanding combinations of drivers in its bid to lift the Blancpain Endurance Series crown.
As well as teaming up with McLaren GT, the Leeds-based outfit is playing its ace card by fielding an ex-Formula 1 and outright Le Mans-winning driver – Brabham and Blundell – in each car, this duo bringing unprecedented experience to the young Anglo-American team, entering only its third season in 2012.
Also joining the team in the Pro Cup car is McLaren GT-factory driver Álvaro Parente, who is not only extremely quick but has spent the past year developing the McLaren GT car and provides powerful insider knowledge with regard to set up and further development for the team.
Teaming up with Blundell in the Pro-Am car is United Autosports co-owner and driver, Zak Brown and US-based South African, Mark Patterson, both of whom are very experienced endurance racers.
The Blancpain Endurance Series has attracted a capacity entry for its second season of racing which takes place at some of Europe's top circuits including the classic Monza track near Milan.
United Autosports is one of eight entries in the Pro Cup class with the sole McLaren GT in the category and Brabham, Bell and Parente will be competing against drivers in Audi R8 LMS, BMW Z4, Porsche 997 GT3R sportscars and a Mercedes SLS AMG GT3.
The Pro-Am Cup class has a massive total of 41 entries from some of the world's leading sportscar teams. The United Autosports' McLaren GT is one of nine contesting the category, which also comprises teams fielding a plethora of Ferrari 458 Italia, Porsche 997 GT3R, Mercedes SLS AMG GT3, BMW Z4 cars, as well as single entries for an Aston Martin DBRS9, Lamborghini LP600, Dodger Viper and a Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3. In addition there are a further four entries in the Gentleman Trophy.
As well as 53 cars across 10 manufacturers, there are also 10 team nationalities represented at Monza including the United Autosports USA entry, which is operated from its Leeds,UK base.
Zak Brown (USA), Driver, Co-Owner and CEO of United Autosports:
"This is where the season really starts for us. Until now we've been learning about the new McLaren MP4-12C GT3 at a series of tests at Snetterton, Valencia, Monza and Paul Ricard and gelling together as a new team of drivers. But now this is where we put all this into practice and go racing. I believe we have an immensely strong driver line-up in both classes, and as a driver and team mate to the two Marks, I'm really looking forward to getting our first race underway at Monza with the aim of a podium finish in both categories.
Richard Dean (GB), Managing Director & Co-Owner of United Autosports:
"We've spent the last few weeks working with the McLaren MP4-12C GT3 and we all agree – drivers, engineers and mechanics – that we've got a real racing car with which to contest the Blancpain Endurance Series this year. It's also been brilliant working with the professional drivers in pre-season testing, all of whom have been first rate in giving feedback. I feel confident we've got the right drivers and right package to be fighting for podiums in both classes, and we're all looking forward to racing at such a classic venue as Monza."
Monza Provisional Timetable:
Friday, April 13
12:00 – 13:30 Blancpain Endurance Series Free Practice
16:05 – 17:35 Blancpain Endurance Series Pre-Qualifying
Saturday, April 14
13:35 – 15:05 Blancpain Endurance Series Qualifying
Sunday, April 15
14:15 – 17:15 Blancpain Endurance Series Race – 3 Hours