United Autosports brings down curtain on busy year

  • Watts & Meins contest Macau GT Cup once again with UA
  • Anglo-American team fly the flag for McLaren in Macau
  • Arguably world’s toughest GT3 “sprint” street race

United Autosports contested what has become arguably the world’s toughest and most competitive race for GT3 sportscars today when the Anglo-American team fielded a pair of McLaren MP4-12C cars.

Competing around the unforgiving 3.85-mile “temporary” circuit on the streets of Macau aiming to register a fifth consecutive podium finish, British duo Danny Watts and Richard Meins fell short on this occasion - through no fault of their own.

This year’s 12-lap race had attracted a top-class 36-car entry in terms of drivers and teams from around the world while Danny and Richard were racing their Gulf Oil Marine/Noble Group sponsored McLarens for the first time since recording second and sixth place finishes in last year’s corresponding race.

But having to switch the McLaren’s regular fuel pump to another version to comply with the race’s new regulations of using 95 octane “pump” fuel had a significant and detrimental effect on the MP4-12C’s turbo and was found to severely restrict the car’s performance throughout the event – the team unable to showcase its true potential.

Macau marked the team’s 94th race of the season staged over 31 weekends of 2014. United Autosports won the Michelin Ginetta GT4 SuperCup Teams’ title and steered Jim Geddie to victory in the GT Cup Championship. Furthermore it races two Toyota Avensis in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship and an Audi R8 LMS in the Avon Tyres British GT Championship.

#23 Gulf Marine Lubricants / Noble Group – McLaren MP4-12C

Danny Watts (GB)

Age: 34. Lives: Thornborough nr Buckingham, Bucks, GB:

Macau History – 2002: 1st Formula Asia 2000; 2003: 10th F3 Grand Prix; 2004: 12th F3 GP; 2005: Retired F3 GP; 2006: 1st Porsche Carrera Cup Asia; 2007: 5th Porsche Carrera Cup Asia (finished 1st on road but given 25secs penalty for yellow flag infringement); 2008: 2nd Macau GT Cup; 2009: 3rd Macau GT Cup; 2010 3rd Macau GT Cup (Audi R8 LMS); 2011 3rd Macau GT Cup (McLaren MP4-12C); 2012 3rd Macau GT Cup (McLaren MP4-12C); 2013 2nd Macau GT Cup (McLaren MP4-12C).

“We improved the car overnight from the opening qualifying session but Red flags on my best lap in the second qualifying session meant it didn’t count. At the re-start I waited in the pits for a gap in the traffic but missed the opportunity when the session finished early. But compared to last year, our pace was down. We’ve gone from being one of the fastest in a straight line to one of the slowest. It was a character buiIding weekend but as usual the team did its best.”

#25 Gulf Marine Lubricants / Noble Group - McLaren MP4-12C

Richard Meins (GB)

Age: 59. Born: Beckenham, GB. Lives: Hong Kong & Chiddingfold, Surrey, GB:

Macau History – 2000: Retired Guia Race (Ford Focus); 2001: Retired Guia Race (Ford Focus); 2002: 12th Guia Race (Ford Focus); 2003: 6th Guia Race (Ford Focus); 2004: Retired Guia Race (Honda Integra); 2005: 2nd (Class B) Porsche Carrera Cup Asia; 2007: 1st (Class B) Porsche Carrera Cup Asia; 2008: 8th Macau GT Cup; 2009: 11th Macau GT Cup; 2010: Retired Macau GT Cup (Audi R8 LMS); 2011: 7th Macau GT Cup (Audi R8 LMS); 2012: 11th Macau GT Cup (McLaren MP4-12C); 2013: 6th Macau GT Cup (McLaren MP4-12C).

“I feel immensely sorry for the team. Qualifying was hugely frustrating with a lot of gamesmanship going on. Some drivers were backing off in an attempt to create a gap which then had a knock-on effect in causing accidents behind them! Then due to our lack of pace, the race proved very difficult. But we had many sponsor guests who nevertheless enjoyed themselves at this unique annual event.”

Richard Dean, Team Owner and Managing Director, United Autosports:

“Qualifying was a major disappointment. We improved the set-up on both cars but traffic then a Red flag combined to prevent either car improving its times. But in the race our cars were just too slow. The fact we had to run local pump fuel really hurt the turbo engine more than anybody else and marked the first time we’d ever been off the Macau podium. Macau marked the end of a busy season for the team.”

November 13-15 Macau GT Cup

Qualifying 1: 13th (Watts), 2m 23.893s; 24th (Meins), 2m 31.267s. Weather: Bright/dry.

Qualifying 2: 14th (Watts), 2m 23.687s; 24th (Meins), 2m 33.436s. Weather: Sun/dry.

Race: 19th (Watts), 25th (Meins). Weather: Sun/dry.