The curtain comes down on what has been an immensely frustrating 2014 Avon Tyres British GT Championship for United Autosports and its drivers on Sunday (14 Sep). Regarded by many as pre-season title favourites after Matt Bell and Mark Patterson finished just 1.5-points behind last year’s championship winners, the Anglo-American pairing having finished an encouraging fourth in the opening race of the 10-race season went on to suffer abysmal fortune in the following three races.
The United Autosports Audi’s front, side and rear body panels have been replaced on multiple occasions during races this season as the distinctive red, white and blue sportscar has found itself to be a target – whether in racing conditions on the track, under full course caution periods or even in the pit lane.
Unsurprisingly after being punted off the track while leading and hit up the rear entering the pits in another race, businessman Patterson who commutes from New York, decided to partially withdraw from the series but returns to race alongside Bell in the 10th and final race at Donington – a two-hour event around the 2.5-mile circuit that the duo won last year – United also victorious in the 2012 Donington race with its McLaren.
#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.
“It feels strange to be at the end of our season already. We are hoping for a good result at Donington, there are lots of positives for us there. It’s the best circuit for the Audi, Mark [Patterson] is back and it’s my favourite UK circuit. Additionally we have some honour to defend as United Autosports has claimed the top step of the podium for the last two years.
“I really want to end the year on a high, we have had the pace to challenge for the championship but we’ve been hit out of contention this year, so I’m quite bullish going to Donington. We literally have nothing to lose!”
Mark Patterson (USA)
Age: 62. Born: Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Lives: Bronxville, New York State, USA.
“It’s a wonderful feeling to be getting back in to my favourite race car – the Audi R8 LMS. I’ve loved racing this car, ever since my first time in it at Oulton Park in April 2010 on United Autosports’ BGT debut.
“The team has always well prepped the Audi to the highest standard and given Matt and I a reliable car to go racing with. Competing again on a historically important and demanding track like Donington is a real privilege for me. Matt and I set what was seemingly an impossible goal last year of trying to win the season closer at Donington and by a miracle we pulled it off. Nothing would be more fun than doing that again!”
Richard Dean, Team Owner and Managing Director, United Autosports:
“The last British GT round at Donington Park will be our last race with Mark [Patterson] before he retires from motorsport. It will be a sad occasion as Mark has been with the team since we first started racing back in 2010. We have a good track record at Donington though. Mark and Matt won the corresponding race last year when we so narrowly missed out on the championship title. We also won there in the McLaren in 2012 and Matt came third in the same race in 2012, so we are confident with our performance heading into the final round. It has been a tough year for us so to finish on a high would be great for Mark, Matt and the whole team.”