United Autosports confirms 2019/20 WEC entry
United Autosports has confirmed it will line-up on the 2019/2020 FIA World Endurance Championship grid, fielding a single LMP2 car.
The Anglo-American team, which is owned by McLaren Formula 1 team boss Zak Brown, has competed at the previous two runnings of the Le Mans 24 Hours and will now compete across the full eight-round WEC calendar starting with Silverstone's 4H in September.
Phil Hanson and Filipe Albuquerque will form the team's driver line-up, racing a Ligier JS P217, with a third driver to be confirmed.
"We are pleased to be able to announce our entry into the 2019/2020 FIA World Endurance Championship," said Brown.
"It has been the aim for United Autosports to enter the world championship for a while, but everything needed to fall into place so we could do it at the right time. We feel that now is the right time.
"We have developed a great relationship with Phil and Filipe and they make a fantastic pairing. We are still working on the third driver but for now, we are excited for what 2019 brings."
Hanson joined the team at the end of 2017 and has raced in the 2018 European Le Mans Series alongside Filipe Albuquerque, winning the final two races of the year. He has also raced in selected rounds of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Daytona, Sebring and Watkins Glen. He is currently racing for United Autosports in the Asian Le Mans Series and scored his maiden pole position at Fuji in only his second LMP2 qualifying attempt.
"I’m really excited to be doing FIA WEC. I think it’s the obvious next step for us, having done the ELMS, Asian Le Mans Series and selected rounds of IMSA, including Daytona," commented Hanson. "I’m looking forward to continuing with United too. They 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. Sao Paulo has a lot of history and I’ve never been to Brazil so it will be exciting. I’m really looking forward to racing on a truly global platform."
Albuquerque joined the team for their LMP2 debut at the start of 2017, finishing second in the championship. This year, he raced alongside Hanson in the #22 Ligier JS P217 and previously raced in the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2016 finishing second in the championship.
Albuquerque added: “I’m super happy to be back in the FIA WEC, I feel I have unfinished business there. I finished P2 in 2016 in LMP2 so now with Phil Hanson and United I think we really have the package to win. It’s two years almost to the day that I met Zak and Richard and I could never believe our partnership would have got to this point.
"I’m excited to be racing in the 2019 ELMS and then going into the FIA WEC with them. 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."