26 May, 2014
United Autosports heads to Silverstone for the Avon Tyres British GT Championship’s longest race of the season staged on Sunday 1 June with a two-car entry.
While season regulars Matt Bell and Mark Patterson are both fully aware that a top-three result is a priority to kickstart their title challenge in the Audi R8 LMS ultra, 2011 British GT and reigning Supercar Challenge (Super GT) Champions, Jim and Glynn Geddie, make a one-off return to the series in their McLaren MP4-12C.
With only an unrepresentative fourth place, opening-race finish to show despite its Audi R8 LMS ultra either leading or running in the top-two in the past two races, Bell and Patterson know that, with a 40-point deficit to the series leaders, a healthy points score is a must.
United Autosports won the Silverstone race in 2012, Bell on a rare occasion racing something other than an Audi, a McLaren MP4-12C along with Charles Bateman, which bodes well for the father-and-son Geddie “combo” in the three-hour race staged on the 3.66-mile Grand Prix circuit.
Jim’s last BGT race was at Silverstone in 2012 when he partnered Glynn to fifth place – in a McLaren – while Glynn, a four-time outright BGT race winner, made his last BGT race appearance at Brands Hatch in August.
Coincidentally Bell’s BGT debut was at Silverstone driving a United Autosports entered Ginetta G50 in 2010, Matt and older brother, Rob, taking GT4 class honours.
#24 Henderson / Bishopston Enterprises – McLaren MP4-12C
Glynn Geddie (GB). Age: 23. Born & Lives: Aberdeen, Scotland.
“I’m really looking forward to entering the three-hour Silverstone British GT race. I have had a lot of experience with the championship in the past couple of years, racing with United last year, a one-off race in 2012, winning the 2011 championship with my dad and then six rounds in 2010 with Trackspeed.
“I don’t get to drive the McLaren as often as I used to with my BTCC commitments with United but I raced it earlier this month at the Brands Hatch GT Cup round so I’m confident it won’t take me long to get back into the swing of things.
“Hopefully we can be up at the top end of the pack battling for a good result. We know the car and the team can do it, it just depends on our luck on the day, but we are confident.”
Jim Geddie (GB). Age: 51. Born & Lives: Aberdeen, Scotland.
“It’s great to be back racing in the British GT Championship. I haven’t raced in the championship since a one-off race at Silverstone with Glynn in 2012 where we came fifth, so it will be good to get back out amongst some of the best GT drivers out there.
“The break I’ve had from the British GT Championship doesn’t worry me as I raced the McLaren in the European Supercar Challenge last year, where we won the championship and I’m competing in the GT Cup this year too, so I’m getting plenty of GT practice.”
#23 Allied World / Henderson – Audi R8 LMS ultra
Matt Bell (GB). Age: 25. Born: Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Tyne & Wear, England. Lives: Barningham nr Richmond, North Yorkshire, England.
“I love Silverstone, it's a great track with some world famous corners like the Maggots/Becketts section. Most of the circuit is medium to high speed, which makes it an exhilarating drive and very rewarding when you really nail a lap.
“It should suit the Audi relatively well. The high aero corners will play into our hands but there are some long straights too that will hand the advantage back to some of the other marques, so it will be a tough race.
“Our BGT season hasn't exactly gone to plan so far. We've certainly had the pace but not the luck. We would’ve left Oulton leading the championship had Mark not been taken out and Rockingham was looking very promising until another poorly managed Safety Car period put Mark in a frustrating position that ultimately led to our race-ending contact. Silverstone is our chance to turn things around, a podium is an absolute must if we are get our championship challenge back on track.
“The longer races are definitely more favourable to us. The promised 2014 upgrade freeze hasn't happened so we are struggling a little for ultimate pace in qualifying as the BoP hasn't been adjusted to reflect the pace of the upgraded cars. The longer races give us an opportunity to claw this deficit back. With our team and driver pairing being so strong, the Silverstone three-hour race is our best chance to show our race pace and make it count.”
Mark Patterson (USA). Age: 62. Born: Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Lives: Bronxville, New York State, USA.
“So far this season’s races have dealt us a few low pairs and no trip aces so a podium finish at Silverstone is a must. Matt and I must lean on the Audi's reliability and our combined speed to head back up the points ladder.
“I love these mini-endurance races interspersed among the season's one-hour events. So much can happen and tiny mistakes can be compensated for given the longer duration. It also allows team strategy come into play more.
“Silverstone ranks as one of the top race circuits in the entire world. Outrageously demanding fast corners combined with some technically challenging ones too.”
Richard Dean, Team Owner and Managing Director, United Autosports:
“We are heading into Silverstone after a bit of a shaky start to our 2014 British GT campaign. We have been fast and competitive but two DNFs out of three races for the Audi is unfortunate. We are hoping to bounce back at the three-hour race at Silverstone. We have a good track record there.
“We won at this track in 2012, so we are confident we can score some good points with Mark and Matt in the Audi. Consistency is now the key to keeping our championship challenge alive.
“It will be great to have Jim and Glynn with us too for the three-hour race in the McLaren. As 2011 British GT champions, they are no strangers to battling with the front runners so it should be a good weekend all round for the team.”