The #23 ORECA 07 of Josh Pierson, Oliver Jarvis and Giedo van der Garde stormed to a spectacular victory at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve, closely followed by the sister #22 ORECA 07 of all-British trio Phil Hanson, Ben Hanley and Frederick Lubin who came home in second place.
When the green flag fell at midday, six hours of speed, skill and strategy ensued at the undulating Portuguese track – though not without its challenges. The #22 battled Hypercar traffic and suffered two hampered pitstops, caused by a neighbouring team’s car blocking smooth exits. Meanwhile the #23 was hit with a technical issue which meant Olly Jarvis drove the final hour with pit boards as his only communication, navigating safety cars and pit stops in radio silence.
With a strong haul of points for both cars, we leave Portimão as 2023 FIA WEC race winners, LMP2 championship leaders and three-time podium placers so far this season. Ben Hanley also scooped the Goodyear Wingfoot Award for the fastest double stint, making it a clean sweep for the United Autosports team.
Next stop for the WEC is the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps which roars into action in two weeks’ time (27-29th April 2023) – and with the sweet taste of victory fresh in mind, we are hungrier than ever.
Stay up to date with the team on social @unitedautosports.
QUALI P5 | RACE P1 | CHAMP P4
Josh Pierson: “That was a bit stressful at the end! What a comeback from Sebring after the issue we had there and the heartbreak … I remember walking out of that race with confidence, I knew I was fast, but my head was hung really low. Showing up here, I really wanted a result. We’ve been so close so many times to big race wins and I knew we had the crew for it, the speed for it. With Giedo and Olly, we were strong as a three and we had a super strong car during the race. I can’t thank United Autosports enough, it was fantastic. We had so much pace, I could work with the car and play with it. Now I’m looking forward to Spa, hopefully having our first win with Tom, and keeping up our fight for the championship. That’s what it’s all about.”
Oliver Jarvis: “Amazing to get the victory after disappointment at Sebring. The team did such an amazing job then and they deserved the win, so it’s nice to reward them here. We had an amazing car … it was a tough race for us though with a few issues, mostly notably the radio failing with about an hour and ten minutes to go. But we do a lot of work so we’re well-prepared for these events and the team handled it like the class act they are … to come away with the win is just incredible.”
Giedo van der Garde: “That was really good! It’s nice to have a comeback in the WEC paddock like this, and it’s been a pleasure to work with Josh Pierson and Olly Jarvis. After a week of hard work, we knew we should be fighting for the win - and after the first two stints, we took the lead, staying there for more or less the whole race. In the end it was tough because we didn’t have a radio, so I didn’t know where we were with the fuel or what was happening. The team thought it was my helmet so we switched to Olly … it didn’t fix the problem, but it worked out well. I’m so happy Richard [Dean] gave me the opportunity to do this.”
QUALI P6 | RACE P2 | CHAMP P1
Phil Hanson: “Really happy for the team getting a 1-2 at the second round of WEC this year. It was our second podium of the year, but sadly our race was hampered by time lost when we had to be pushed back from the Vanwall pitting in front of us. The team did a great job executing the race and giving us a competitive car - it’s just a shame I wasn’t able to complete my stints as efficiently as I could have in clear air. However, it extends our championship lead which is the main goal … and, of course, big congratulations to the United Autosports team for such a strong result.”
Ben Hanley: “Fantastic to be on the podium in my first race with the United Autosports team. They gave me a great car … we had really good speed. We had a couple of pushbacks due to Hypercars pitting in front of us which compromised some of our pitstops and put us on the back foot. But we had great pace throughout the race, and it was getting close at the end! Super happy to continue the podium celebrations from Sebring with another one here.”
Frederick Lubin: “An incredible day for the team! A 1-2 finish and we’ve extended our championship lead with our second podium finish on the bounce. It’s been incredible to work with Ben Hanley, he’s such a fast driver and he’s taught me a lot. It’s a weekend I won’t forget, that’s for sure …”
Richard Dean: “A 1-2 sounds like you’ve had it easy but it felt like a gloves-off street fight from start to finish. There are some real quality teams out there with the likes of Prema, WRT and JOTA … so to come out on top with a 1-2, it’s credit to everybody. It really is fine margins so everybody has to be on top of their game from the pit crew to the pit wall to the drivers – it’s just brilliant. And for the two substitute drivers, Giedo and Ben, to stand in so seamlessly … credit to them, it’s not an easy thing to do. Quality job, super proud of the whole team.”