Will Owen passed another career milestone over the weekend after finishing fourth overall at the 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona as part of the prototype class of the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship.
In what ended up being a predominately green race, it was key for United Autosports to keep the #32 Ligier JS P217 running wide open throughout the day and night in order to secure a top five finish. Doing exactly that, Owen and his teammates Bruno Senna, Hugo de Sadeleer, and Paul Di Resta battled with the best drivers in the business from F1, IndyCar, NASCAR, and Formula E. This being Owen’s second 24-hour race, he was able to join his skill set with that of his fellow drivers and crew members who knew the most important goal was to keep the car moving along the 3.56 miles of Daytona International Speedway.
Brazilian veteran of the team, Bruno Senna started the race in good form and eventually passed the car on to each of his co-drivers until Owen was called to the occasion, rounding out the line-up. The American had a clean first stint and was then faced with unexpected heavy rainfall at the end while still running slick tires. Owen stayed with it and managed the tires and the conditions and closed the stint as clean as he started it.
By the time Owen was back behind the wheel, the #32 of United Autosports was running in the top ten. Giving a strong performance with a smooth triple stint throughout the middle of the night, it wasn’t until Owen returned for the third time that the rest of the field began feeling the weight of the grueling race. While other cars started seeing issues, the American crew of United Autosports kept advancing the competition. Owen’s last stint was cut short with some tire pressure imbalances, but the confusion was handled and it was on to the next pressing issue, which ended up being the clutch. Time was lost fixing the problem, but the crew got creative and worked around it during pit stops to keep the car moving towards the finish line.
In his last outing of the 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona, Owen was fourth after his teammates had battled their way past one of the Jackie Chan DC Racing machines. Tasked with finishing the race, Owen kept fourth position, the same place he finished at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2017. Next up, Owen and his teammates will compete for the podium at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring coming up on March 17th, 2018.
Driver – Will Owen
‘Racing in the Rolex 24 at Daytona was an awesome, challenging, and rewarding experience. At some points during testing we were not feeling very confident for the race, but the combination of our crew’s hard work and reliable car made it possible to finish in the top five! This Daytona 24 was unique because of the lack of yellow flags, and the prototype race became a race of reliability and pace as well. Our United Autosports car had good pace throughout the race, so we were able to have a shot at a top spot. Unfortunately, our clutch issue prevented us from a better finish, but either way we are all very happy and proud of where we finished. This was a great intro to 2018, and we will keep pushing to prepare for this year.’
Source. Speed Group/Will Owen Media/Photo. United Autosports