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United Autosports are preparing to enter the third round of the Michelin Le Mans Cup this week as they head to France for the Road to Le Mans event (13-15 June).

The 2019 Road to Le Mans will mark the fourth year United Autosports has run LMP3 cars in the 24-hour support race, after making their debut in 2016. That year, Martin Brundle joined the team, putting the Ligier JS P3 on pole positon. Since then, the team have notched up one win, four podiums, a pole position and two front row starts.

As usual, the Road to Le Mans event acts as round three of the Michelin Le Mans Cup. United Autosports full season drivers Jim McGuire, Matt Bell, Rob Hodes and Garett Grist will be joining the team at Le Mans, both Rob and Garett making their Le Mans debuts. Naj Husain will be making a one-off return to the team, racing alongside Wayne Boyd, while Patrice Lafargue and Erik Maris will be racing the team’s fourth Ligier JS P3. Both Patrice and Erik have previous experience of Le Mans, Erik having raced in the 24 hours five times. Both drivers also have extensive prototype experience, having raced in the American Le Mans Series, the FIA WEC and the ELMS.

In a slight change to the Michelin Le Mans Cup weekends, the Road to Le Mans event features two 55-minute races, one held on Thursday evening and one taking place Saturday morning ahead of the 24-hour race. There are also two qualifying sessions where both drivers can set a time. The qualifying time set in the first session determines the grid for the first race, while the second qualifying session determines the starting positions for race two.

Jim McGuire (US), driver car #22, United Autosports:
Born: New York, USA. Lives: Florida, USA. Age: 58
“I can’t wait to get back to Le Mans. The most memorable event of the year at the most amazing circuit in the world. To be there with United Autosports in an AERO painted Ligier is beyond awesome.”

Matt Bell (GB), driver car #22, United Autosports:
Born: Newcastle, UK. Lives: Stamford, UK. Age: 29
“The Le Mans round is the jewel in the crown of the Michelin Le Mans Cup, everyone’s excited for this one. I love the whole event and the circuit is in my top-three in the world so plenty to look forward to. We had very good pace the last two years and scored a top-10 in 2017, so I think a repeat of that is going to be the aim of the week.”

Rob Hodes (US), driver car #23, United Autosports:
Born: Montreal, Canada. Lives: Florida, USA. Age: 58
“The experience of racing at Le Mans will undoubtedly be second to none. This is an iconic venue steeped in the historic foundation of motor racing. I can’t wait to experience the sensations around this awe-inspiring place. We are looking for great results and hope to find a competitive balance of speed down the long straights without too much lap time compromise by giving up downforce for the corners. Knowing I am part of a terrific team like United alleviates much of the pre-race concern. I can’t wait to get going.”

Garett Grist (CAN), driver car #23, United Autosports:
Born: St. Catherine’s, Canada. Lives: Grimsby, Canada. Age: 23
“Heading to race at Le Mans is a life-long dream come true and to be there with an organisation like United Autosports just adds to the experience. Rob and I were really close to a solid finish at Monza before a change of fortune took us out of contention but I am confident that we are closing in on a podium finish. To get it at Le Mans will be all that much sweeter.”

Naj Husain (US), driver car #24, United Autosports:
Born: Palo Alto, USA. Lives: Martinez, USA. Age: 61
“I am really excited about driving at Le Mans again. We learned a lot in the two races last year and now it’s time to put it all together once again this year. The race weekends are always fun and exciting with United Autosports and I can’t wait to get back in the car after a long break since Paul Ricard.”

Wayne Boyd(GB), driver car #24, United Autosports:
Born: Belfast, Northern Ireland. Lives: Templepatrick, Northern Ireland. Age: 28
“I’m really looking forward to doing the two Michelin Le Mans Cup races at Le Mans. Any opportunity to drive round that circuit is one you have to jump at. I’m quite lucky to have done 10 laps last year as reserved driver for the LMP2 team so at least it’s not totally new to me and I have a good idea of where I’m going! I’m looking forward to driving with Naj again. We had a good first race at Paul Ricard at the start of the year and I think we can definitely push for two good results.”

Patrice Lafargue (F), driver car #27, United Autosports:
Born: Angers, France. Lives: Paris, France. Age: 57
“I’m really pleased to be racing in the Road to Le Mans race and I’m looking forward to joining United Autosports. I have previous experience of Le Mans, so knowing the layout of the track will help for the race weekend. I’m looking forward to racing with Erik too, we are currently racing together in the ELMS and have raced together many times before so it should be a good weekend.”

Erik Maris(F), driver car #27, United Autosports:
Born: Nevers, France. Lives:  Age: 55
“I’m thrilled to be back at Le Mans after five straight years of participating in the 24-hour race. I’m delighted at the opportunity to race with United Autosports, one of the most professional teams, together with my great friend Patrice with whom we have been racing in the ELMS for two years.”

Zak Brown, Team Owner and Chairman, United Autosports:
“Our Road to Le Mans team looks strong this year. It is a great event and I’m pleased to be there to see how we get on. Having two qualifying sessions is nice for our pro drivers to get the chance to show what they can do, so I’m hoping for some good results.”

Richard Dean, Team Owner and Managing Director, United Autosports:
“I love the Road to Le Mans event. It’s fantastic that it is one of the Michelin Le Mans Cup rounds, but it’s also great that there is space for ELMS and one-off entries too. We have done well at this event in the past, pole positon with Martin Brundle in 2016 and a win for John Falb and Sean Rayhall in 2017, followed by a double podium in 2018 so fingers crossed we can keep our LMP3 Le Mans momentum going.”

Source. United Autosports


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