SPA, Belgium (September 25, 2018) – United Autosports once again showed its strength this weekend at Spa Francorchamps as the team utilized its AERO Sustainable Paint Technology advantage to take home victories in both the LMP2 and LMP3 classes following a wet and wild race on the legendary Belgian circuit.
United Autosports’ stacked line up headed into the Spa race weekend with a one up on its competition with the team’s unmistakable red white and blue liveries thanks to the inherent advantages that AERO provides the squad with superior strength, aerodynamics, and light weight that the eye-catching product provides.
Securing a front row start after Saturday’s qualifying run, the duo of Filipe Albuquerque and Phil Hanson raced the No. 22 Ligier JSP217 through treacherous conditions which included period of heavy downpours to score the team’s first LMP2 victory of the 2018 season. The treacherous weather saw the event race start moved up to accommodate the predicted weather, but the race still was forced to be red flagged and then checkered just over half way through the planned four hour distance after saw three safety car periods.
After confirming the results, the winners were jubilant to emerge from the challenge with new hardware from one of the most difficult tracks in motorsport, no matter what the conditions.
“I’m so happy,” said Albuquerque. “We’ve fought so hard all season with no reward. Today was chaotic racing and often dangerous but I was determined to get this win for United. Eau Rouge was especially difficult when it was really wet. My pace in the wet was also good and I was just focussing on getting a big lead. The Ligier was very, very good in qualifying – just brilliant in the middle section – and I was very happy to set a time so close to the championship leader who only beat me to pole in the closing seconds of the session.”
Also running in the LMP2 category, Will Owen, Hugo de Sadeleer and Wayne Boyd took home sixth in the No. 32 machine.
The AERO advantage saw the defending LMP3 champion squad make a return to the top of the podium after a season that has featured a lot of bad racing luck. John Falb and Scott Andrews – filling in for a sick Sean Rayhall – earned the second LMP3 victory of the season for United Autosports. A smart pit strategy and strong running on a rain soaked track, brought the No. 2 LMP3 machine to victory circle.
“It was a crazy race,” said Falb. “Scott (Andrews) nailed it, driving the wheels off the Ligier. I then got to know first-hand just how treacherous it was out there when I took over from him. I couldn’t see much of anything. The visibility was terrible. Our engineer Gary made a great strategic call and it’s awesome to climb the top step of the podium again.”
Also in the LMP3 field was the trio of Tony Wells, Garrett Grist and Matt Bell who drove from 10th on the grid to finish fourth in the No. 3 AERO LMP3.
The cutting edge AERO pain technology was also featured in the return of the Michelin Le Mans cup two hour event. AERO squad Ecurie Ecosse / Nielsen Racing scored a breakthrough win at Spa-Francorchamps, as the No. 79 Ligier JS P3 of Alasdair McCaig and Colin Noble crossed the line first to lead a 1-2 team finish with the No. 2 of Tony Wells and James Littlejohn coming home second.
“The conditions were pretty tricky, but we got a good start,” said McCaig. “Then the rain came down and we had to come in for wets. We put our heads down and got on with the job. I pitted in third, Colin did a fantastic job getting us up to first. And to score a 1-2 finish is such a fantastic result for the team, everyone worked so well. We’ll remember this one.”
United Autosports also had three entries in the event with Richard Meins and Christian England leading the Anglo-American line up as they scored a fifth place result. Driving the No. 22 JS P3, Matt Bell and Jim McGuire secured 13th in the LMP3 standings while first timers competing at Spa, Colin Braun and Naj Husain came home 15th in the order.
“It’s a great result, an awesome day in the office!” said Zak Brown, Team Owner and Chairman, United Autosports. “The organizers did a good job in bringing the race start time forward and then were correct in red-flagging the race when they did as the track conditions were absolutely dreadful. Our drivers did a fantastic job and I’m proud to have witnessed this great result at Spa.”
After spending its first season amongst the highly competitive LMP3 field, the No. 4 Brookspeed JS P3, which features a full AERO livery, of John Schauerman and Nicolas Rondet finished 16th.
Next up for AERO Sustainable Paint Technology teams will be the IMSA season ending Motul Petit Le Mans where teams in both the WeatherTech and Continental Tire SportsCar ranks will fight for championship honors on October 10th-13th.
Images courtesy of United Autosport