United Autosports enters exotic trio for its maiden Classic 24 Hour at Daytona Forray
- U.S. IndyCar “legend” Danny Sullivan competes for Anglo-American team in Historic Sportscar Racing’s annual race in Florida
United Autosports will make its debut in the second running of the Classic 24 Hour at Daytona over 12-15 November. The Anglo-American team enters a 1986 Porsche 962, 1981 Porsche 935 and a 1985 Ford Mustang in the Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR) organised event at the Daytona International Speedway.
United’s co-owners Zak Brown and Richard Dean will be joined by 1988 PPG IndyCar World Series champion Danny Sullivan in its driver line-up. Sullivan made his IndyCar debut in 1982 and went on to score 17 wins in a 170-race World Series career. The 1985 Indianapolis 500 race winner also contested the 1983 FIA Formula One Championship with Tyrrell. In 1994, Danny competed in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) and finished third in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. He returned to IndyCar racing for one final year in 1995 but retired from open-wheel competition after breaking his pelvis at the Michigan International Speedway. Sullivan is also no stranger to the Daytona International Speedway, having made 10 appearances in the Daytona 24 Hours between 1979-1999 recording three top-four overall placings, best results being second place twice (1986 & ’98) – the most recent also resulting in GT1 category honours.
The Porsche 962 is chassis #120 and won on its debut with Dyson Racing in the 1986 Six Hours of Riverside. Additional wins were earned that year at Charlotte and Sears Point. Further victories came at Watkins Glen the following year and in Miami in 1988. The 962 was later heavily modified by Dyson with high-downforce nose and air tunnels under the car designed by noted aerodynamicist Dick Yagami. The Porsche engine produced an impressive 800 horsepower with a top speed of 215mph at full turbo boost. This Porsche placed second in the ’86 season closing three-hour race at Daytona (Rob Dyson/Price Cobb), third in the 1987 Daytona 24Hrs (Dyson/Cobb/Vern Schuppan) and ninth in the race the following year (Dyson/Cobb/Schuppan/James Weaver). Others to race the IMSA GTP Porsche include Drake Olson, Johnny Dumfries, Scott Pruett and John Paul Jnr.
The “JLP-3” is regarded as the most successful of all Porsche 935s and was the first racecar to ever win both the Daytona 24 and Sebring 12 Hour races overall in the same year. The 750+ bhp Porsche also collected the 1982 IMSA Camel GT Championship title for team and driver John Paul Jnr. In its two year, 26-race ‘career’, the “JLP-3” scored 16 podiums including nine victories. Derek Bell, Mauricio de Narvaez and Rolf Stommelen raced this car in addition to John Paul Snr and Jnr.
Another project lovingly restored by United Autosports like the two Porsches, is the Scott Pruett 1986 IMSA GTO Championship winning 1985 Roush Protofab. Originally built for Trans-Am as a Ford Capri in December 1984, it was campaigned by Roush Protofab in 1985 by Willy R. Ribbs and then by Scott Pruett who won the 1986 IMSA GTO Championship with the car in Ford Mustang guise. Pruett finished seventh overall, and first in GTO, in the ’86 3Hr race at Daytona.
The Classic 24 features six period-correct run groups rotating through a full 24 hours of racing on the 3.56-mile Daytona road course. The run groups, which include various classes of similar-era racecars, each take to the track four times throughout the 24 hours. The competitors in each class covering the most total distance in their group’s four sessions will be “crowned” Classic 24 at Daytona champions.
Daytona will not be a new venue to United Autosports as it linked up with Michael Shank Racing to contest the 49th Rolex 24 At Daytona in 2011 with Brown, Mark Blundell, Martin Brundle and Mark Patterson driving a Riley-Ford to an excellent fourth place, a mere 3.752secs behind the winner and just 0.75secs off third place, marking the team’s first race in North America in style.
Zak Brown (USA). Born: Los Angeles, California, USA. Lives: Carmel, Indiana, USA/London, England:
“I heard that the debut of this event was fantastic last year so I was keen for United Autosports to attend given that the cars we’re bringing over have a lot of successful Daytona history and it’ll be nice for us as a team to go back there. These cars will be mega around Daytona and it will also be a lot of fun for Richard and I to be racing with Danny Sullivan, a very long time friend and a fantastic racer and champion.”
Richard Dean (GB). Born/Lives: Leeds, England:
“I love Daytona. I first went there in 1985 with my father, Tony. Dad raced in the USA during the early 1970s and contested the Can-Am Challenge Cup, often transporting a Porsche 908/02 in a converted English bus. I competed in the Daytona 24 Hours in 1998 (Lister Storm) & 2010 (Porsche GT) and most recently, was Team Manager for the United Autosports with Michael Shank Racing entry for the Rolex 24 in 2011.
“The three cars we are taking will each present an amazing spectacle around the banking and I imagine will be quite a handful to drive too with that amount of horsepower. I well remember being at Daytona in ’85 with Dad watching these types of cars in period. Danny Sullivan joining us should be fun, he is a quality driver and a great character. I know the team will enjoy working with him and I am sure Danny will love the cars we have for him to drive.
Danny Sullivan (USA). Born: Louisville, Kentucky, USA. Lives: Pebble Beach, California, USA:
“I have known Zak for a long time. He was a determined racer before finding his path and leading the industry in the marketing field. I am very much looking forward to the event with my old friend. I’ve never driven any of Zak’s cars that he’s bringing over but have raced various 962 cars a number of times. I’ve also driven a friend’s 935 around Laguna Seca for a couple of laps but Daytona will be the first time I’ve ever raced one. I’m looking forward to going back to Daytona – the entire race meet should be a great experience.”