United Autosports Press Release
- Lux, Patterson & Winkelhock net fantastic top-six Bathurst result
- Audi R8 LMS ultra leaves its mark on Australian GT race
- Qualified in ninth and ran as high as second
United Autosports has begun its most comprehensive season of motorsport activity since the Anglo-American’s team formation in November 2009 by recording a top-six result in one of the world’s toughest GT sports car races.
Mark Patterson (USA), a United Autosports regular since the outset, along with team debutants Eric Lux (USA) and Markus Winkelhock (D), swept their Audi R8 LMS ultra home to a strong sixth place finish in the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hours today (9 February).
A regular race winner in the British GT Championship and top-three “podium” finisher in such prestigious races as the Macau GT Cup, the UA Audi has now left its mark on the annual Australian race despite all of the GT3 class Audi sports cars being significantly handicapped by an out of sync Balance of Performance compared to the opposition.
The United Autosports Audi was the second best placed R8 LMS in the race to confirm the team’s fantastic achievement “Down Under”. A large crowd and a massive “live” TV and “on-line” audience saw just 28 of the 42 starters survive a bruising race featuring nine safety Car interventions run at a record pace and in ambient temperatures nearing 40 degrees Celsius.
The Lux/Patterson/Winkelhock Audi had started from ninth on the 40-car grid, Winkelhock having briefly held provisional pole-position during Saturday’s three qualifying sessions. Winkelhock’s opening stint saw him running as high as second and within seven seconds of the lead – Markus having also shattered the 3.86-mile Mount Panorama’s lap record (2m 04.5863s) a time bettered later in a race in which the United Autosports Audi ran reliably, consistently and competitively in the top-six throughout.
Eric Lux (USA). Age: 25. Born: Williamsville, N.Y., USA. Lives: Williamsville, N.Y., USA.
Bathurst 12Hr: 2013. Bathurst History: Only 2013 12Hr race.
“It was my first race with United Autosports and it was a fantastic experience. Engineer Taka did a brilliant job while all of the team was top-caliber. Finishing just one-place behind the similar Audi of Phoenix Racing, winners of this corresponding race two years ago, underlines what an amazing job the team and the drivers did in the intense heat.
“I hope that adjustments will be made to the Balance Of Performance because the lack of [straight line] speed from all of the Audi sports cars was plain to see by everyone.”
Mark Patterson (USA). Age: 62. Born: Port Elizabeth, S Africa. Lives: Bronxville, N.Y., USA.
Bathurst 12Hr: 2012. Bathurst History: 2012 & ’13 12Hr races.
“Taka's good strategy and all three drivers never making a significant mistake resulted in us being one of only two cars to make nine pit-stops during the race – two and sometimes four stops less than our rivals.
“Our race from a mechanics, engineering and driver discipline could not have been a smidge better – all that was missing was a fair BoP effort by the race organizers that resulted in all six Audis being at least 15kph down on our rivals’ top straight-line speeds.”
Markus Winkelhock (GB). Age: 33. Born: Bad Cannstatt, Germany. Lives: Berglen-Steinach, Germany.
Bathurst 12Hr: Début. Bathurst History: Début.
“It was a tough race, the heat was intense and we had good battles on track. I enjoyed my first race with United Autosports - they are a good team. The track is very challenging and for me it is a mix of the Nürburgring Nordschleife and a city street circuit. Every year I have wanted to come here so I’m glad to have finally made it.”
Richard Dean, Team Owner and Managing Director, United Autosports:
“It's a great feeling to finish any long distance race but to know you have been competitive and run with the leaders throughout is very satisfying. The drivers and team have been faultless and the Audi as strong and dependable as ever. A top-six result in one of the world’s toughest races is a great way to start our season!”
2012 (February 24-26)
#22 Alain Li (F)/ Mark Patterson (USA)/Frank Yu (HK) (Audi R8 LMS)
Qualifying: 7th Patterson, 2m 13.0757s (cumulative time of 3 drivers 6m 45.4273s)
Race: Retired from 7th position after 59 laps (2.5hrs), accident damage
2013 (February 7-9)
#23 Brendon Hartley (NZ)/Alain Li (F)/Mark Patterson (USA) (Audi R8 LMS)
Qualifying: 14th Hartley, 2m 08.9790s
Race: Retired from 6th position with 5mins remaining, suspension damage
2014 (February 7-9)
#23 Eric Lux (USA)/Mark Patterson (USA)/Markus Winkelhock (D) (Audi R8 LMS)
Qualifying: 9th Winkelhock, 2m 05.7175s
Exciting and busy times ahead for burgeoning United Autosports outfit
In addition to contesting the 2014 Avon Tyres British GT Championship with a singleton Audi R8 LMS ultra, the Leeds (GB)-based United Autosports outfit co-owned by Richard Dean (GB) and Zak Brown (USA) will compete for the first time in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship with a brace of Toyota Avensis touring cars driven by James Cole (GB) and Glynn Geddie (GB). Additionally, the team’s exciting and ultra-busy year includes an entry in the Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup in 2014 for Luke Davenport (GB).
Cole and Geddie have both recently visited the workshop for seat fittings in their respective Toyotas while Davenport will test his new Ginetta G55 at Donington Park next Thursday (17 February).
“It’s an exciting time for United Autosports. We are coming to the end of our build schedule for the two touring cars and we will be taking part in pre-season testing with all our cars in the coming weeks in preparation for a busy season ahead.
“With no fewer than 17 tests before the start of the BTCC, Ginetta and British GT Championships, we are aiming to head into the 2014 season fully prepared. The BTCC is a new challenge for us [United Autosports] but we are confident that we’re taking the correct steps to give us a good start to the year. We have got a great team of drivers and staff so 2014 should be an exciting year for us.”
Upcoming . . .
2014 Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup Championship Media Day, Silverstone (11 March) . . . 2014 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship Media Day, Donington Park (18 March) . . . Opening three rounds of Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship plus first rounds of Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup Championship, Brands Hatch Indy (29-30 March) . . . 2014 Avon Tyres British GT Championship Media Day, Donington Park (8 April) . . . Rds 4, 5 & 6 of Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship plus rounds of Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup Championship, Donington Park (19-20 April) . . . Opening two rounds of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship, Oulton Park (19-21 April) . . .
Photo credit: United Autosports