United Autosports Press Release
United Autosports travels to the magnificent Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium aiming for a top-three in the two, one-hour races on Saturday (12 July).
The Anglo-American team welcomes back America-based businessman Mark Patterson to partner Matt Bell in their Audi R8 LMS ultra with both drivers relishing the challenge one of the world’s most demanding tracks has to offer.
Bell, along with former UA co-driver Michael Gausch, recorded fifth and sixth places the last time Spa was on the BGT calendar in 2011 while UA competed in the Spa 24 Hours later that year and also in 2012 and ’13. Indeed UA raced in the annual 24 hour race in 2010 – the team’s first year of competition.
#23 Allied World / Henderson – Audi R8 LMS ultra
Matt Bell (GB). Age: 25. Born: Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Tyne & Wear, England. Lives: Barningham nr Richmond, North Yorkshire, England.
“Spa is a track I love, easily my favourite on the calendar, so I’m looking forward to going back there. We will have Mark back in the Audi and we’ve got unfinished business in my view.
“Having had wins and podiums cruelly taken away from us earlier this year, it’s an opportunity for us to rectify things and post a result that we deserve! Mark and I know the track very well having both competed in the Spa 24 hours on multiple occasions, so hopefully we can put everything together and take home some trophies.”
Mark Patterson (USA). Age: 62. Born: Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Lives: Bronxville, New York State, USA.
“I’ve been lucky enough to have competed on over 50 great tracks around the world – two of them are standouts and one of those is Spa. Every visit provides a newfound insight into something more daring, more challenging than the time before.
“Getting a quick lap time at Spa is more gratifying than almost on any other track in the world. You must master the tricky tight Le Source, then immediately it’s down through the incomparable Eau Rouge, the downhill triple ‘slippery’ corners ending in Pouhon, one of the world’s greatest double apex’s ever designed and then cap your courage journey in sixth gear with a no-brake attempt at Blanchimont.
“Weather always plays a part in the outcome of races there, either across the entire track or just on parts of it, making driver feedback and engineer choices always a race determining factor.
“The Audi runs well in all the technically challenging parts of Spa but we have to make up for straight line speed issues on the lengthy runs in at least two parts of the track. I can’t wait to get into the two-race format in one day. Matt and I are overdue a good result, so here’s hoping for a podium at Spa which I’ve yet to experience there.”
Richard Dean, Team Owner and Managing Director, United Autosports:
“If we can qualify in the top-six then rostrum finishes are possible. Spa has always been kind to us. We won’t necessarily be the fastest on the straights but we’ll be in good shape around the high-speed sweeping sections.
“Mark will be back for Spa and he loves the Belgian track while Matt is good around there so we’ll head there in a confident frame of mind especially after recording sixth and seventh place finishes last time out at Snetterton.”