United Autosports enter the 90th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, having contested the prestigious annual race a previous five times. The team’s racing history at Le Mans has not been without success: the notorious win in 2020; a third place finish in 2018 and a top five finish across all six races.
Josh Pierson is set to beat the previous record-holder, Matt McMurry, by a mere 85 days when he races next weekend, Saturday 11th, making his debut in the 2022 Le Mans 24 Hours. Having already collected the accolade for the youngest WEC driver at the start of the championship in Sebring, back in March, Josh is ready to add another to his collection; that race ending with him on the top step of a very wet podium, a goal no different here at Le Mans.
Joining Josh in the #23 Oreca-07 are Alex Lynn and Oliver Jarvis, both having contested Le Mans races before and coming away victorious. Alex won in 2020, in the GTE PRO category with Aston Martin Racing, whilst Olly finished first in the LMP2 class back in 2017 with Jackie Chan DC Racing. Alex most recently raced at Le Mans in 2021 with United, co-piloting the #23 single-entry alongside Wayne Boyd and Paul di Resta, crossing the line fourth in class after the 24 hours. Olly has raced in ten Le Mans, from 2010- present day, with his participance this year making it his 11th race.
Filipe Albuquerque, Phil Hanson and Will Owen also join Alex and Olly in their racing experience at Le Mans; the former pair having won back in 2020 with the team and making 2022 their fifth year of racing together. Will returns to Le Mans, a race only ever contested with United, making this his fifth year return. A third place finish for Will in 2018 with Juan Pablo Montoya and Hugo de Sadeleer as his best result means he is fuelled to get onto that top step, come next Sunday.
The #23 crew currently sit second in the WEC championship standings, six points behind WRT, whilst the #22 crew will be looking to maximise the double points available at the 24 Hour race to solidify their place in fighting for the title.
The official test session begins tomorrow, Sunday 5th, at 09:00-13:00, with a second afternoon session running from 14:00-18:00. Race week begins on Wednesday 8th, with two Free Practice and a Qualifying Practice session, before Free Practice 3&4 and the Hyperpole on Thursday. The 90th edition of 24 Hours of Le Mans will start at 16:00 on Saturday 11th, concluding at 16:00 on Sunday 12th.
“It’s crazy to think I am returning to tackle my 6th consecutive Le Mans. Last year we were humbled after a mechanical issue took us out of contention.This year the goal is the same and my expectations remain high, but I know it will take nothing less than a faultless 24 hours from everyone involved if we want to succeed.”
“We have arrived now to the big moment, the big race, the Le Mans 24 Hours is just around the corner. I’m always excited to go back there with my teammates. The first two races for us in the WEC have not come without some issues but the pace is definitely there, having started from front and second rows consecutively. It is not always the fastest car that wins these long endurance races, but you need to have the full package to be able to finish the 24 hour race without any issues. Our aim is to be fast, but to also avoid all of the hurdles that might get thrown our way. I am looking forward to another Le Mans with United, and to race once again with Will at the circuit, as well as racing with Phil who has also raced with the team multiple times and has vast experience and knowledge of the race.”
“It’s an honor to be back at Le Mans for the fifth time. I was last here in 2020, which just wasn’t the same without fans. It is energizing to be back at this race with such enthusiasm. I have had my fair share of good and bad luck here over four attempts, and it’s tempting to start thinking about what the end of the race will look like. All we can do for now is work hard to prepare for the race during this week, finding as much pace as possible between the car and us three drivers. I wouldn’t choose to do Le Mans with any other team than United. Phil and Filipe have become great friends and mentors, and it’s exciting to be taking on this great challenge with them. Thanks to everyone on United who has worked so hard to prepare for this upcoming week.”
“I’m very excited to participate in my first 24 Hours of Le Mans. Everything I’ve been working towards up to this point comes down to this. I’ve watched this event while growing up, and it is truly historical. I am looking forward to being a part of that. I’m also excited to participate in the driver’s parade, experiencing Le Mans with its traditions back in place. I have complete confidence in the #23 crew, my engineer Will, and my co-drivers, Oliver and Alex. Now it’s full focus on what’s ahead!”
“Le Mans is always a highlight of the season, and this year is even more special as we return to normal after Covid. I can’t wait to see the fans experience both scrutineering and the drivers parade, as they make the whole race weekend so special. This is the first time since winning in 2017 returning as part of a full season team, so I head into this years race having had the best possible preparation. When you are with a proven winning team like United, and with strong teammates in Josh and Alex, the goal has to be to win.
However I expect this to be the toughest LMP2 race in history, with incredibly strong teams and drivers throughout the field. Therefore to win, we will not only have to be fast but will have to execute our race strategy perfectly with no mistakes, and only at 4pm on Sunday will we know if that was enough.”
“It’s Le Mans, we’re here to win. 24 hours to victory.”
“We’ve a great line-up for both cars. Our #22 drivers have raced at Le Mans almost 20 times between them while the #23 crew have contested the race 15 times. Filipe and Phil have previously won with United at Le Mans, Olly has also been victorious in LMP2 there, Alex won this race in GTE Pro while Will was on the LM24 podium with us in 2018. Josh makes his Le Mans debut but has already won races in LMP2 with us, at Sebring on his WEC debut and twice in the Asian LMS. It’s going to be an awesome battle.”
“It’s great to have the traditional feel back at Le Mans, we can already feel the atmosphere building with the cars back in the town for scrutineering yesterday, next week promises to be a very special event with the fans back in full force. As a team, we have high hopes as always for Le Mans, we want that feeling again when you cross the line and take the checked flag first after 24 hours of hard competition. Our driver line up is strong and we will certainly be competitive. Bring it on!”
Source. United Autosports