After a hard-fought podium in Sebring, the #22 ORECA 07 of Phil Hanson, Filipe Albuquerque and Frederick Lubin tops the leaderboard (read more).
Albuquerque will be fulfilling IMSA commitments and so won't race in Portimão on Sunday - however, multiple WEC, IMSA and ELMS podium finisher Ben Hanley will step into his shoes, making his team debut in the #22 car with fellow Brits Hanson and Lubin.
The sister #23 ORECA 07 of Josh Pierson, Oliver Jarvis and Tom Blomqvist has its sights set on redemption at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve, after a stellar weekend of pace and performance in Sebring ended with a heartbreaking DNF result.
Blomqvist will also be racing stateside over the weekend, with WEC race winner Giedo van der Garde joining the United Autosports #23 line-up in his place.
Phil Hanson: “Portimão is a track I feel very confident at … the team do a good job there every time we visit, both in ELMS and WEC. So heading there this year with the championship lead is ideal given that we have a strong package. Hopefully we can capitalise on a good car and secure additional points for our championship campaign.”
Ben Hanley: “After such a strong team performance in Sebring, I’m really excited to get behind the wheel and aim to continue the great work that was done in round one!”
Frederick Lubin: “I'm very excited for Portimão. There’s a good mixture of high and low speed corners and a lot of undulation which will be really fun to experience in a race. We’re going as championship leaders, and it would be great to pick up another result – but I’m just focusing on learning as much as I can and taking everything step by step.”
Filipe Albuquerque: “It's a big shame I can't be in Portimão. Of course, racing in my home country would be awesome - I’m still sad about it but I cannot be everywhere. I want to wish the best of luck to United, to my teammates that are leading the championship and to Ben Hanley who is replacing me. I know Ben very well, we raced together in go-karts and we were first time manufacturer drivers together. I know how tough a competitor he is so I’m sure he’ll do an amazing job. I’ll be cheering for you guys!”
Josh Pierson: "After a rough weekend in Sebring, I know everyone on the #23 car is highly motivated to continue with the initial strength we showed. With Olly and Giedo, we have a strong lineup that can capture a win. Having prior experience at Portimão, it’s a track I can attack confidently. I’m ultra focused on redemption and I’m sure the crew is too."
Giedo van der Garde: "My first race with United Autosports! We had a test a few months ago - I'm happy with the car and the team, and looking forward to getting back in the WEC paddock. Working with Josh and Olly is going really well ... I think we can fight for a podium and, if everything goes right, the win."
Olly Jarvis: "I can't wait to get back in the car, especially after such a strong start to the year performance-wise in Sebring. We didn't get the result we wanted or deserved but our motivation is extremely high heading into Portimão. We need strong results for the rest of the year if we want to win the championship and that's exactly what we're aiming to do."
Tom Blomqvist: "I'd like to wish the lads the best of luck. Sebring didn't go to plan results-wise but the pace was extremely strong from everyone. Giedo is coming in to replace me - he's been in the championship before and has a lot of experience, so I'm hoping that - together with Olly and Josh - the #23 will be on the podium. I'll be watching from afar!"