The United Autosports Ligier JS P320s were strong from the off at Circuit Paul Ricard this week. The #22 and #23 topped the timing boards in FP1, with Boyd (#23) clocking the only sub-1 minute 51 lap in a 30-strong field of LMP3 contenders - and in FP2, the team backed up their results with a solid P3 and P4.
Qualifying set the grid with work to do for both cars, and the intense temperatures made the opening stint more challenging for Bronze-graded drivers Gerry Kraut (#22) and John Schauerman (#23). Within 15 minutes, however, Schauerman had gained five places, running P12 in the #23 with his sights set on a haul of championship points.
At the mid-way point, the United pit crews pulled off two slick pitstops, with both cars posting 2 minute 40 second services – the fastest times in the LMP3 pitlane for the mandatory stop. Gerry and John got out, the two Pro drivers jumped in, and the team settled in for the second half of racing.
In the #23, multi-European Le Mans Series LMP3 champion Wayne Boyd powered up the field to P6 – squeezing the 40-second gap to the leader down to just 12.4 seconds at the checkered flag. The podium was coming into view for the Northern Irish racer when a FCY in the final 15 minutes took away valuable race time, slowing his final push to the line - however, a post-race ruling saw the #23 gain a position and promote them to a top-five finish.
For the #22 crew, Gerry Kraut and Scott Andrews worked hard to gain 10 places in total and cross the line in P20 – but sadly, missed out on championship points to build on their P5 finish at Road To Le Mans last month.
That's the end of the Michelin Le Mans Cup action this weekend, but there's more to come over the next three months. Stay up to date with the team on social @unitedautosports.
QUALI P30 | RACE P20
Gerry Kraut: “I’ve never figured out the slow corners here, I’m fine with the fast sections of the track but that made things very challenging, especially combined with the hot conditions. Thank you to Scott for pushing on and gaining more places.”
Scott Andrews: “It was a tough race for us – the hot conditions made it hard on the tyres and tricky to drive. Gerry did well to keep it on the track but ultimately we found ourselves a lap down and then the tyres went away, so the last 30 minutes were just about surviving.”
QUALI P17 | RACE P5
John Schauerman: “The heat made it very challenging out there, it really was a test of endurance. I’m glad I was able to gain some places before handing over to Wayne, who smashed it as usual and go us into P5.”
Wayne Boyd: “Overall, I’m really happy with that result – our car has been so fast all year, we just haven’t had the results to properly show it … a bit of bad luck in every race. But that one, to get from P17 and finish P5 … I’m really pleased, that’s good points on the board. Big thank you to the United Autosports team, and to John for doing a cracking job in the heat.”
Charlie Kemp: “From the start of the week, we have had two strong cars with proven speed – consistently ranking in the top four during practice sessions, and topping the board in FP1. The team as a whole has had a very good weekend - the cars haven’t missed a beat, the drivers have given it their all, and to see John and Wayne’s run from P17 to P5 was really impressive."