UNITED AUTOSPORTS PREPARE FOR RETURN TO MONZA FOR ROUND TWO OF EUROPEAN LE MANS SERIES AND MICHELIN LE MANS CUP

  • LMP2, LMP3 and MLMC teams aiming for strong results in Italy
  • Pole position for Wayne Boyd in LMP3 last year
  • Albuquerque and Braun join team for their first race of 2018 with United

United Autosports are preparing for round two of both the European Le Mans Series and the Michelin Le Mans Cup in Monza, Italy this weekend (11-13 May).

All three teams are hoping to build on what they learnt at the opening round at Paul Ricard last month.

The ELMS LMP2 team suffered bad luck with a puncture early on for Phil Hanson and Bruno Senna. This weekend Phil will be joined by his full season team mate Filipe Albuquerque in the #22 Ligier JS P217. Will Owen, Hugo de Sadeleer and Wayne Boyd will also be aiming to improve this weekend in the #32 Ligier JS P217– Wayne scoring the LMP3 pole position for the team at the same event 12 months ago. 

John Falb and Sean Rayhall will be working to get their championship defence back on track at Monza in the #2 Ligier JS P3 after a fifth place finish last time out. Tony Wells, Matt Bell and Garett Grist will also be hoping for a podium finish to get their season started. 

Over in the Michelin Le Mans Cup team, Jim McGuire and Matt Bell are hoping to continue their strong form from Paul Ricard in the #22 Ligier JS P3. The pair were named as ‘Spirit of the Race’ winners by the championship organisers following the opening round. Richard Meins and Christian England are also hoping to build on their performance too, after a slow puncture during Christian’s race stint hampered their promising progress. Naj Husain will be joined by full season team mate Colin Braun for the first time at Monza, after making a great start to his Le Mans Cup campaign, qualifying 15th in his maiden outing.

The Monza weekend begins on Friday 11th May with Michelin Le Mans Cup free practice at 10:30. The two-hour Michelin Le Mans Cup race will be held on Saturday 12th May at 16:00, with the 4 Hours of Monza beginning at 12:30 on Sunday 13th May. All seven cars will take part in the test day on Wednesday (9th May) ahead of the official race weekend.

Phil Hanson:

“I’m really excited to head to Monza after a disappointing first race at Paul Ricard when we got a puncture early on. It will be a tough weekend for us due to Monza characteristically being a weak track for the Ligier, but it will be good to have Filipe back with us and we are looking forward to banking some good points for the championship.”

Filipe Albuquerque:

“I am really looking forward to my first race in ELMS this year and to be back with United Autosports after fighting them in Daytona and Sebring. The results in Paul Ricard were not the ones we would like but we will work hard in Monza even if it’s not one of our strongest tracks. I have raced many times in Monza and it’s a track that I really like. I know many details that make me fast so I am really optimistic about it”.

Will Owen:

“Finally it's time to go back to Italy. This is my favourite venue on the calendar, and I am excited to return. Last year we had a difficult race, so I am excited to have another chance at a good result at Monza. I had a lot of room to improve personally last year; my driving has changed a lot since then so I hope this will be a chance for me to see how I have changed over a year. Working closely with Wayne, Hugo and Jerome was awesome at the first round. We are going to give it our all.”

Hugo de Sadeleer:

“We had a tricky race in Paul Ricard, however our race pace was good so I'm confident that we will be competitive in Monza. The fact that the car has improved significantly, especially with straight line speed, means that passing traffic and setting up overtakes has become much easier. It's good to see that Wayne is more comfortable in the car and getting faster on every outing. Will had a good start in Monza and that gives us lots of new possibilities for strategy. I'm looking forward to the race, and pizza...”

Wayne Boyd:

“I’m really looking forward to round two of the ELMS at Monza. I qualified on pole there last year in LMP3 so it’s a track I feel confident at and enjoy driving. We all showed strong pace at Paul Ricard but with a few issues we didn’t get the result we deserved so I’m hopeful we can go to Monza and show what we’re capable of. From a personal point of view, I feel much more confident driving the LMP2 car after round one so I plan to hit the ground running.” 

John Falb:

“I’m ready to get back to the Italian home of speed. We have a lot of work to do and I can’t wait to get started.”

Sean Rayhall:

“I’m looking forward to round two of the European Le Mans Series with our United Autosports #2 car. I think we got a good feel for the way the races are going to go this year after Paul Ricard, and we are ready to try and get back on the podium at Monza.”

Matt Bell:

“Paul Ricard was a frustrating weekend for us but it’s given us plenty to work towards for Monza. The level of competition has increased significantly from previous seasons so we are aiming to put what we’ve learnt into practice and challenge for the win again. I’m confident we can mount a serious challenge for the championship with the line-up and crew we’ve got, hopefully we can demonstrate that this weekend.”

Tony Wells:

“I’m really looking forward to Monza. It’s a great circuit so I’m looking forward to working hard with Matt and Garett to get a good result. We had a difficult weekend at Paul Ricard but we also learnt a lot so I’m feeling positive going into Monza.”

Garett Grist:

“I am really looking forward to Monza. It's a track everyone dreams of driving, it has so much history. Everyone has been working hard since France to ensure we have a better weekend in Monza.”

Jim McGuire:

“I’m really excited to get back to Monza! It’s one of the most iconic circuits in the world and it will be awesome to be there again with United Autosports and Matt Bell. The Michelin Le Mans Cup is super competitive this year and we will definitely have to put it all together to fight towards the front in our beautiful AERO painted Ligier.”

Matt Bell:

“Paul Ricard was a tough weekend for track time due to the changeable weather conditions, hopefully we can have some more consistent weather in Monza and get some meaningful testing done before the race. I had a great battle for the majority my stint during the race but just missed out on a top 10 as a result despite really good pace, so we’ll be looking to leave Monza with some points, I’m aiming for a top-six finish!”

Richard Meins:

“Springtime in Monza. It's got to be one of the best things about motor racing. This is a track I have got to know and love over the past few years and it's great to be going back there with the Ligier LMP3 car which will be in its element on this superfast track. Last time out at Paul Ricard, I was really pleased with my pace and Christian and I were unlucky not to make the top ten, so we will be doing our best to be at the forefront of the United attack on this race. This is a brilliant prelude to the next race, the big one at Le Mans and racing at Monza is yet another of the privileges that comes with being part of United's Michelin Le Mans Cup squad."

Christian England:

“I can’t wait to get back in the car at Monza for the next round of the Michelin Le Mans Cup. It’s hard to pick a favourite out of the circuits we visit during the year but Monza has to be right up there. We had some incredible pace in last year’s ELMS race so I’m hopeful we can follow that through into this year. A slow puncture hampered my race stint at Ricard last time out after Richard drove an incredible first stint with fantastic pace so we are looking forward to pushing hard for a good result this time out.”

Naj Husain:

“I am excited to drive at Monza with Colin, a track I have always wanted to race on. The first race in Paul Ricard was exciting and I learned a lot about the series, competition and the team. Colin and I had a great test in Portimao with United and we will work hard to improve race by race. I believe the Ligier will be fast at Monza and I am super exited to learn a new track.”

Colin Braun:

“I am very excited to kick off in Monza with Naj and United! I think Naj and I had a great test in Portimao earlier in the year and we were both very impressed with the team and engineering staff. It was tough to miss the first race of the year in Paul Ricard with my conflict in Long Beach, but it sounded like Naj did a terrific job in his first event. With all that being said I feel like we have a lot to build on going into Monza. I think the Ligier car will be strong as well with all the quick corners that reward the downforce it seems to make. I am looking forward to adding an iconic track to my experience!"

Zak Brown, Team Owner and Chairman, United Autosports:

“I’m looking forward to seeing how we got on in Monza. We had a tricky start to the year but our team will keep working hard to get the results we know we can.”

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

“We had a difficult start to the 2018 ELMS season, and the level of competition has gone up dramatically. We are more focussed than ever on the championship battles in both LMP2 and LMP3. Our Michelin Le Mans Cup team performed really well at Paul Ricard. I have high hopes for all three driver lines ups in 2018.”