24 March, 2014
A new era dawns for United Autosports on Sunday (March 30) when the Leeds-based Anglo-American team contests its maiden Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship races.
Having competed in races on four continents since the team was founded by American entrepreneur Zak Brown and British former single-seater racing driver Richard Dean, a brace of distinctive-liveried Toyota Avensis touring cars will line up on the capacity grid for the opening three rounds of the 30-race series at Brands Hatch in Kent.
Despite only making their debut less than five years ago, United Autosports has raced in the American Le Mans Series, Blancpain Endurance Series (Europe), British GT Championship, FIA GT3 European Championship, Grand-Am Sports Car Series (North America), Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (China) and Supercar Challenge (Europe), prestigious GT Races in Abu Dhabi, Australia, Dubai and Macau plus historic races at Le Mans (F), Monaco (MC) and Monterey (USA).
Practice around the 1.22-mile Brands “Indy” circuit is staged on Saturday (10am-10.40am & 12.40pm-1.20pm) with qualifying at 3.40pm–4.10pm for grid positions for Sunday’s opening race scheduled for 11.47am. The second and third races start at 2.17pm and 5.02pm respectively. Rounds 1, 2 & 3 will be shown “live” on ITV4.
#20 Drivecool – Toyota Avensis
James Cole (GB). Age: 25 (16.08.88). Born: Southport, England. Lives: Liverpool, England.
“Testing has been really good and the team has quickly become accustomed to the Toyota. I guess our ‘true’ pace compared to the opposition will only be revealed in qualifying on Saturday but I’m heading to Brands to compete and not just make up the numbers.
“I voluntarily ended my maiden BTCC campaign mid-season last year so 2014 really feels like a ‘rookie’ year for me in touring cars. BTCC continues to gain in popularity and it was always my intention to switch to touring cars after my single-seater career. The BTCC has a fantastic future and I’m looking forward to being a part of it for many years to come.”
#21 – Toyota Avensis
Glynn Geddie (GB). Age: 23 (17.06.90). Born & Lives: Aberdeen, Scotland.
“The timing to make my BTCC debut is spot on while racing with United Autosports after winning the Supercar Challenge with them last year is a perfect scenario. I last raced a front-wheel-drive car back in 2006 when I began my motorsport career in a Mini championship and adapting back again after racing Porsche, McLaren and Audi GT cars has taken some readjustment.
“I’m also excited to be contesting ‘sprint’ races again after recent years in longer distance, two-driver GT races.”
Richard Dean, Team Owner and Managing Director, United Autosports:
“Heading into the 2014 season we are definitely a lot busier from the mechanical side of things and the logistical planning of events. Joining the BTCC is a big deal for us and we are keen to make a good first impression, which hopefully we have already managed to achieve in pre-season testing.
“We spent the winter re-building James' Toyota while also building a brand new Toyota for Glynn. The guys at our workshop have done a great job getting everything ready for the Brands opener. We have covered more than 1,500km during testing, in both wet and dry conditions, so we are putting the time in to prepare ourselves as best we can.
“We feel positive heading for Brands as we ran well there during testing. We are a new [BTCC] team with a new car and new staff gelling together but finishing in the top-10 is our realistic aim this season.”