United Autosports begins GT Cup Championship title defence
- Anglo-American team busy with various projects that offers exciting future
United Autosports begins its title defence of the GT Cup Championship when Phil Burgan contests the opening three races at Donington Park this weekend (25-26 Apr) in the Anglo-American team’s venerable Audi R8 LMS ultra.
2015 marks the first time an Audi has regularly competed in the series but is a model that is certainly no stranger to United Autosports. Indeed UA has fielded an R8 LMS every year since the team’s maiden season in 2010 in a variety of series and prestigious events. These include the FIA GT3 European Championship, British GT Championship, Intercontinental Le Mans Cup, Macau GT Cup, Spa and Dubai 24 Hour races plus the Gulf and Bathurst 12 Hour events.
Former driver Jim Geddie earned UA its second ever championship title, winning the outright GT Cup title as well as taking GTO honours in the series finale at Oulton Park – an event that saw Leeds businessman Burgan make his debut with the team and in the series.
Burgan claimed a podium finish despite difficult weather conditions at Oulton and notwithstanding it being his first competitive outing in the Audi and first race for over eight years. Phil, the founder and CEO of Maria Mallaband Care Group Ltd, has Ferrari Challenge and Trofeo Maserati experience but took a break to build his business before returning for spasmodic historic rally events – including the gruelling 35-day 2013 Peking to Paris Rally.
Phil has completed eight days testing this year in the GT3-spec Audi including outings at Cartagena, Donington Park, Rockingham and Snetterton clocking up approximately 1,000-miles. He will be the sole driver competing in the GTO class of the series in United’s Audi meaning that Burgan contests three races – one 50mins “Main” race on Saturday plus two 25mins “Sprint” races on Sunday – and will be up against “amateur” drivers like himself but also “professional” ones around the 1.957-mile Donington “National” circuit. He successfully completed qualifying and race simulation runs in testing at Donington yesterday (23 Apr).
The Leeds-based team remains as focussed and as active in motorsport during 2015 as in previous years. In addition to the GT Cup programme, United Autosports’ partners Zak Brown and Richard Dean, the latter continuing the day-to-day running of the raceshop, are both feverishly working on exciting programmes behind the scenes that will secure the team’s long-term future and see the team engaged in top-class motorsport. Furthermore United will appear at prestigious historic events around the world with Brown himself often driving cars that are restored and maintained at UA.
“I’m not competing in this year’s GT Cup Championship to make up the numbers. My aim will be to score podiums and hopefully a win or two during the season. I’m with a championship winning team, the Audi is good, and I’m getting to grips with a car featuring a lot of aero and many electronic aids – features I’m not used to previously. Additionally I haven’t raced on any British tracks since 1996, apart from Oulton last year, combined with the fact that I’m racing alone and will therefore be up against some handy professional drivers so it’s going to be a steep learning curve.
“I was a late starter in motorsport. I raced in the UK Ferrari Championship in 1996 before competing in the European Ferrari Challenge (1997-99) but then ‘retired’ from racing in order to concentrate on my businesses. I came out of retirement to compete in the 2006 Trofeo Maserati Championship then focussed on historic rallying. I’ve done five Monte Carlo Classic rallies, the Pirelli Marathon, Tour de Corse and did the 2013 Peking-Paris Motor Challenge endurance rally. Last year I raced in three Trofeo Maserati events at Silverstone, Shanghai and Abu Dhabi plus the Oulton race with United.”
Richard Dean, Team Owner and Managing Director, United Autosports:
“It’s great to be back racing. We’re out at Donington Park this weekend which marks our defence of the overall 2014 GT Cup and GTO titles. This year we return with a different car and driver combination in the form of the Audi R8 LMS and Phil Burgan who has had a lengthy break from circuit racing. We’ve completed a very positive pre-season test programme and we expect to be competitive. That said, the championship looks even stronger this year in terms of drivers and teams.”