Phil Hanson aims to celebrate his 50th car race in style by conquering Sebring’s infamous bumps and record his third consecutive FIA World Endurance Championship LMP2 class win (20 Mar). The “1,000 Miles of Sebring” marks the 20-year-old Briton’s “half-century” of races after a successful two-year career in karting, Phil turning to sports-prototypes in late 2016 (LMP3) then 2017 (LMP2).
Hanson and his fellow #22 United Autosport Oreca crew of Filipe Albuquerque (POR) and Paul Di Resta (GB) have recorded four podiums (two wins, two thirds) since the opening Silverstone race non-finish combined with four front row class starts (one pole, three seconds) from five races.
Phil, youngest outright Asian Le Mans Series champion (2018-19), and Albuquerque, has a slender four-point lead going into the Sebring race, Hanson’s 33rd in an LMP2 sports-prototype – all but six with United Autosports – a team the Berkshire-based driver has formed a strong bond with.
With 38-points on offer to the Sebring race winner, Hanson is intent on keeping United to the fore – the #22 Oreca having led more LMP2 laps than any other car in the last two races. The BRDC SuperStar, along with United Autosports, has previously raced at the 3.74-mile Florida track – America’s oldest road racing circuit – claiming fifth place in the 2018 Twelve Hours of Sebring. Hanson, who tested at Barcelona last week (4 Mar) in advance of the opening European Le Mans Series race at the Spanish venue, will take part in this weekend’s (14-15 Mar) FIA WEC test at Sebring.
Phil Hanson (GB): Born: London, England. Aged 20
“We arrive in Florida leading the WEC LMP2 standings for the first time having won the last two races. It’s vital that we keep the momentum going forward at Sebring, especially with the bigger points allocation on offer – plus it would be pretty cool to win my 50th career [car] race.
“I’m really looking forward to racing at Sebring again. It’s a track I feel very comfortable with having raced on it for the first time two years ago. We did a really great job in that race considering it was mine and United’s first time there.
“Overall it’s been a really strong run since our Silverstone DNF having accumulated four podiums in four races, two of which have been wins. It’s been a very strong showing from us with everything gelling well with every member of the team doing a really good job.
Filipe, Paul and I haven’t made any mistakes, touch wood, so if we can continue with this form for the rest of the WEC season, and me personally into ELMS this year, then I will be more than happy with 2020.”