United Autosports Press Release
United Autosports regular Matt Bell is joined by reigning Porsche Club GB Champion John McCullagh for the penultimate round of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship staged at Brands Hatch on Sunday (31 Aug).
Matt finished sixth in last year’s corresponding race with Mark Patterson, the pair failing to win the 2013 BGT title by just two points, and is targeting a top-six repeat result with “newcomer” McCullagh.
Ex-rally driver McCullagh, an engineer who has been a director for 20 years with the MMC Engineering Group based on Teesside, recorded 17 class poles, 14 class wins and 14 class fastest laps in last year’s Porsche Club GB Championship.
The two-hour event marks McCullagh’s maiden race for United Autosports, his first in an Audi R8 LMS, first GT3 class race and first on the Brands 2.433 mile Grand Prix circuit.
#23 Henderson – Audi R8 LMS ultra
Matt Bell (GB). Age: 25. Born: Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Tyne & Wear, England. Lives: Barningham nr Richmond, North Yorkshire, England.
“Brands Hatch is one of Britain’s most iconic circuits so I always enjoy going back there. It presents similar challenges to Oulton Park – it’s bumpy and narrow with lots of elevation changes so there’s pressure to get the set-up right and get up the front in qualifying otherwise it means a difficult race.
“It would be very nice and quite rare this year, if the Audi is not assaulted on-track during the race – a ‘clean’ race would make a very welcome change. It will be John’s first foray into GT3 so the main objective will be to get him comfortable and up to speed in practice. He’s tested well in the Audi and so hopefully it will come as naturally to him as his racing a Porsche which he’s done successfully for a number of years and we’ll have a good weekend.”
John McCullagh (GB). Age: 50. Born: Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire. Lives: Northallerton, North Yorkshire
“I’m looking forward to making my British GT Championship debut, having my first race with United Autosports, with Matt, in an Audi and on the Brands GP track. I’ve raced on the Brands Indy circuit a number of times with success but can’t wait to get out onto the GP track.
“I tested the R8 LMS for the first time this month at Silverstone and thoroughly enjoyed myself finding the Audi a pleasure to drive. It’s extremely well balanced, puts the power down well and is awesome under braking. Matt and I clocked up almost 200 miles and each mile passed off without any dramas.
“I rallied between 1986-91 competing in the Vauxhall Nova Challenge before competing in the British National and British Open championships. I decided to try my hand at circuit racing in 2011, having a couple of outings in the Porsche GB Club Championship, and am now in my third season in that series having won it last year driving a Porsche 968.
“Matt is a family friend and gave me some coaching in 2012 while I’ve followed the fortunes of him in BGT with the United Autosports team in recent years and I’m looking forward to working with Richard and his team.”
Richard Dean, Team Owner and Managing Director, United Autosports:
“We make our way to Brands Hatch with the hope of getting a decent result after a mixed weekend at Spa last month. We also welcome John McCullagh to the team for the two-hour race. He has tested the Audi a couple of times since he agreed to join us but this will be the first time he is in a race situation with the R8. We are confident John and Matt will make a good partnership for the Brands weekend.”