United Autosports are preparing for the 2021 Le Mans 24 Hours with their three-car entry this coming weekend (21-22 August), which includes a mixture of previous Le Mans race winning superstars, Phil Hanson, Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Alex Lynn, 2020 podium finisher Nico Jamin and exciting Le Mans debutants Fabio Scherer, Wayne Boyd, Manuel Maldonado and Jonathan Aberdein.
Following the official Le Mans 24 Hours test day, held yesterday (15 August), United Autosports now move ahead with preparation for the 24-hour race week. The team topped the timing screens in the morning session with the #23 Oreca 07, with the #22 in second and the #32 placed 13th. In the afternoon session, the #23 finished fourth with the #22 in fifth and the #32 in 11th.
The FIA World Endurance Championship full season crew of Phil Hanson, Filipe Albuquerque and Fabio Scherer in the #22 Oreca 07 head into Le Mans week as championship leaders after scoring two race wins at Spa and Monza. Phil and Filipe were part of the team’s 2020 Le Mans race winning line-up, who also won both the FIA World Endurance Championship and the European Le Mans Series Championship. A feat never before achieved by a team in the same year.
Paul Di Resta, who was also part of the 2020 Le Mans winning crew, will this year be joined by another 2020 Le Mans race winner, Alex Lynn, who won the GTE Pro class for Aston Martin Racing. The pair will team up with reigning ELMS LMP3 Champion, Wayne Boyd in the #23 Oreca 07, who will be making his Le Mans 24 Hours debut.
The #32 crew is made up of three of United Autosports European Le Mans Series drivers, Nico Jamin, Jonathan Aberdein and Manuel Maldonado. Nico stood on the podium alongside United Autosports last year, after finishing in third place. Jonathan and Manuel meanwhile will be making their Le Mans 24 Hours debut but have already impressed this year with Jonathan scoring three ELMS podium finishes and a front row qualifying at Monza last time out. Manuel won the 2021 Asian Le Mans Series LMP3 Championship at the beginning of the year. He has also stood on the ELMS podium this year, with a third-place finish at Paul Ricard.
The Le Mans 24 Hours gets underway at 16:00 CET on Saturday 21 August.
Phil Hanson – 2020 race winner
“Le Mans is always the mecca of our season. We know what it takes to win after coming out on top last year, but I am expecting no less competition than that of the previous years. I’m looking forward to what will likely be 24 hours of non-stop battling for the lead.”
Filipe Albuquerque – 2020 race winner
“Coming out to Le Mans as a winner is a bit more special. In a way, I think it takes some pressure out because we have won it already before. We have won the first two rounds so that’s a good sign, we are one of the favourites for the win. But again, Le Mans is unique and special and there are a lot of strong competitors, so we need to stay humble, have the same approach as last year, which is to do our best. It’s going to be Fabio’s first year, and his pace this season has not been a problem, so I really think we have a great line-up with Phil as well. We are really motivated as Le Mans winners.”
Fabio Scherer – Le Mans debut
“I’m unbelievably excited for Le Mans this year. It’s still a strange feeling because there’s a lot of unknowns for me with a 24-hour race. It’s going to be a big surprise and I am just working on being as prepared as I can be. I think, having never done it before, it’s difficult to be fully prepared, but for sure I am really excited about the track. The race is looking very promising for us so I can’t wait to get out there now. It will be the first time I have raced in the dark so that will be a new challenge but one I’m looking forward to. It’s a mega chance and I just hope we can be as strong as we have been in the previous races this season.”
Paul Di Resta – 2020 race winner
“I’m massively looking forward to going to Le Mans. I think it’s such a big, anticipated race. Returning to a race that I’ve won, we come into it with a different approach, but at the same time, the objective is to go there and be successful. Having the right strategy and approach, with everyone coming together is going to be a key part. I want to thank Richard and Zak for getting this programme together, especially the #23 car. They’ve put a great team together with a great car, so I’m looking forward to this more so than I have with any other endurance race. There’s going to be a lot of pressure given our win last year, and with this year’s line-up looking so strong, but I’m looking forward to that challenge and take it as a positive.”
Alex Lynn – 2020 race winner
“I’m super excited. I’ve been looking forward to coming back to racing prototypes for a long time. It’s safe to say that as a whole crew, myself, Paul and Wayne, we are all really excited and I think we pose a decent threat to the competition. I think our intention is to come and claim it all and try and win the race. It’s my first time racing for United on the world stage, and I think we’re going to have a lot of fun in the process, which usually brings good results.”
Wayne Boyd – Le Mans debut
“I really can’t wait for Le Mans. I’ve enjoyed my few weeks at home, training hard but now I just want to get out there and get going. It’s my debut at Le Mans but I’ve driven in the Le Mans Cup races these last couple of years, so I’ve got a good bit of track knowledge. I’ve also done some longer races this year, with the 24 Hours of Daytona and then the P2 races like Sebring, which was racing into the night, has definitely been good preparation. I’ve got two good teammates. They both won the race last year, in two different classes, but they have a massive amount of experience, which will be able to help me. We’re definitely going to be pushing for the win, and with a good car, fingers are crossed.”
Nico Jamin – 2020 third place
“I am extremely excited to be back racing at Le Mans. This race is THE race, the one everyone wants to win. It is the biggest endurance race in the world. I finished on the podium last year in LMP2, and I am hungry for more this year. I will be sharing the #32 car with two rookie drivers, Manuel and Jonathan. They are both amazing drivers and I will do my best to help their learning curve and get up to speed as quickly as possible. I have full trust in them, we have the whole package to have a very good race. Also, it will be amazing to have fans back at the racetrack. We definitely missed them.”
Manuel Maldonado – Le Mans debut
“I am very excited for the upcoming days. The preparation behind the scenes has been going well and I can’t wait to get out onto this legendary track. We have a strong package, and the team is well prepared. Having previously been there as a spectator was already pretty cool but this time around to be there as a competitor it’s very special. I didn’t expect this opportunity to come up so early into my career and therefore I am very grateful for my family and everyone that’s been around me to make this possible.”
Jonathan Aberdein – Le Mans debut
“Obviously I’m ecstatic to be making my first appearance at Le Mans this year. We will be taking it step by step and see where we end up at the end.”
“Last year’s race win is still so fresh in the memory, but it’s time to go for another win once again. We have the crews to be able to be at the sharp end so I’m looking forward to being there with the team and seeing how we get on.”
“Another Le Mans has come around once again, and we are looking forward to another tight battle with what is a very competitive LMP2 field. The quality continues to impress, and we are under no illusion that we have a target on our backs, but we are here to win and that is what we have been preparing for since we crossed the line last year. We have three very strong line ups and a fantastic team behind them. Let’s see where we are come 4pm next Sunday.”
Source. United Autosports