There will be significant changes at United Autosports in the coming months.
The British-American team has been ever present in the European Le Mans Series since 2016, where they started out with two LMP3 cars, winning the Championship in that category in both 2016 and 2017.
They expanded that programme in 2017 to include LMP2 as well, getting their first start at Le Mans too. The Daytona 24 Hours 2018 was their first step into the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Champinship, followed up with Sebring and Watkins Glen later in the year. They entered the Asian Le Mans Series during the winter 2018/19, and won the LMP2 category there, but did also compete in LMP3. On top of all that, they have competed with up to 5 cars in the Michelin Le Mans Cup and Road To Le Mans races. They ran a total of 13 entries throughout the 2018 season, in various categories around the world.
They will enter their first full FIA World Endurance Championship in the upcoming 2019/20 season.
Their choice of car has been Ligier ever since the start, with the different variations of the cars. That has been the natural choice since they were the British importer and dealer of the French brand, which is constructed by ONROAK, which is located right next to the Le Mans track in the Technoparc.
That collaboration ends now – at least on the import and sales side of things.
United Autosports announced last week that their FIA WEC programme would be run with an ORECA 07 LMP2 car instead of their usual Ligier JS P217. The reason for that was due to demand from a costumer, that this specific car would be an ORECA 07 – basically stating that Phil Hanson wanted that car, since he is the backbone in the FIA WEC programme, plus one of the ELMS cars – and the Championship winning LMP2 car in the Asian LMS 2018/19.
It was quite a shock for them to change the brand, and there are probably a few Frenchmen who choked on their croissants, when they heard about it.
A press release has been send out by Ligier Automotive now, stating that they will take the sales and support of the car brand back in house for Great Britain. They state that they end the relationship on good terms and that the team will be supported for their Ligier programmes like before.
But it’s been revealed now, that United Autosports haven’t just bought one but three ORECA 07 chassis. So don’t be surprises for them to do the full switch either later this season or at the start of the 2020 season at latest.
United Autosports is owned by Richard Dean and Zak Brown. They have made a good business out of the team, during the last almost 10 years. They show up with a very professional set-up for all the races – but costumers have to pay big bucks for that. The collaboration with Ligier has meant that they can lead the drivers from their first steps in LMP3 onto LMP2 – but Ligier doesn’t have any LMP1 car in their programme. ORECA has that in the shape of a Rebellion… But none of the parties has confirmed that this is part of the reason for the change, but no doubt that UA will try to keep expanding the team in the future. At some point there will be a costumer (read Phil Hanson) who wants to try out LMP1, or whatever the category will be named in the end of 2020, and then it would be nice for the team to be able to provide such car.
United Autosports is back on track again this weekend at Circuit de Catalunya with four cars in the ELMS and 3 cars in the LMS + their FIA WEC debut next week at the Prologue, with a single LMP2 car.