LE MANS, France (June 19, 2017) - It was a huge weekend of racing as Le Mans once again took the global center stage with nearly a week of motorsport activities culminating with the 85th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans on Saturday.
Equipping all of their machines with AERO™ Advanced Paint Technology, United Autosports contested two different events on the weekend—the Road to Le Mans races featuring GT3 and LMP3 machines, as well as the feature 24 Hours of Le Mans.
United Autosports emerged from the weekend with some remarkable results including two podiums, a race victory in the Road to Le Mans opener, and a fighting fourth place result in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
After not getting to properly practice ahead of the first race, John Falb (USA) and Sean Rayhall (USA) bounced back to take a convincing Road to Le Mans victory and bring United Autosports their first win at Le Sarthe.
“I managed a couple of laps in practice on Wednesday before an engine issue stranded me out on track, which necessitated an overnight engine change,” said Rayhall. “Our car crew didn’t go to sleep or leave the track so big kudos to them and we owe our victory to their hard work. Seeing the Stars and Stripes flag flying over the rostrum at Le Mans brought tears to my eyes.”
The duo returned to race action on Saturday ahead of the start of the 24, scoring an encore podium with a run to second place.
“Getting a second podium on Saturday, in front of a massive crowd, was truly awesome,” said Rayhall. “It’s a big deal coming over here and having this kind of success so this feels amazing!”
The 24 hour race demonstrated the determination of the team, as the Ligier JS P217 was demonstrably slower in a straight line than the Orecas that dominated qualifying and then the race.
But the three driver line up of Filipe Albuquerque (P), Will Owen (US), and Hugo de Sadeleer (CH) had a clean run through the day, night and then daytime sprint to the finish to bring the AERO-equipped machine home in fifth with some 362 laps of the 8.47-mile circuit to their credit.
“It was a hard one but I am really happy with P4,” said Albuquerque. “I don’t think we could have squeezed any more from our car. I think the whole team should be proud as they did an amazing job all week. The rookie boys [Hugo and Will] did a fantastic job. It was very hot throughout, we didn’t have the pace to match the winners, but still we managed to put the car in the top-five. I set my grid time in Q3. On my first attempt I was in traffic but the second lap was pretty good. I extracted everything I had from the car.”
“Awesome!” said Zak Brown, Team Owner and Chairman, United Autosports. “When Richard [Dean] and I started the team back in 2010, Le Mans was something we both wanted United Autosports to enter one day and what a way to open account. All three drivers were flawless, consistent, and fast but my sincere thanks go to the entire United Autosports crew. They’ve all worked incredibly hard for months leading up to this event and if it wasn’t for their combined efforts, I don’t think such a result could have been achieved.”
This weekend will see the AERO colors flown stateside once again, as Road America plays host to the Verizon IndyCar Series as well as Pirelli World Challenge.
AJ Foyt Racing’s Conor Daly and Carlos Munoz, as well as Rahal Lanigan Letterman Racing’s Graham Rahal and the Dale Coyne Racing due of Tristan Vautier and Ed Jones will all be looking to use the AERO advantage on Road America’s 4-mile circuit. Also in the open wheel ranks, the Cooper Tires presents the USF2000 series will see a very busy Parker Thompson and his Exclusive Autosport teammates Luke Gabin, Dev Gore, and Jason Clunie all carrying AERO on their all-new USF2000 machines.
The World Challenge paddock has also seen steady growth for AERO machines, as both the factory Panoz effort with the Avezzano GT and the Cadillac ATS-V R entries have updated both their look and their advantage by utilizing the environmentally friendly AERO™ Advanced Paint Technology.