- Race win for Bailey Voisin and Charlie Fagg in #23 McLaren 570S GT4
- Maiden pole position for Bailey Voisin in debut season in GT4
- Great pace shown in recovery battle for Gus Bowers and Dean Macdonald in #32
- Sixth consecutive race win at Spa Francorchamps for United Autosports
United Autosports have won the opening race of GT4 European Series weekend at Spa Francorchamps and have reclaimed the title lead in both the Silver Teams and Silver Drivers’ standings.
A perfect qualifying session on Friday for Bailey Voisin saw him claim his maiden pole position in GT4 racing and place the #23 McLaren 570S on the front row of the grid for the opening race of the weekend on Friday evening. Bailey had a great start from pole and drove a fantastic opening stint, coming under strong pressure from the car behind, but holding onto the lead before pitting to hand the car over to Charlie Fagg. Charlie also drove brilliantly, holding onto the lead and bringing the #23 McLaren home to take their third win of the season.
Gus Bowers in the #32 McLaren was less fortunate during his qualifying session on Friday. After performing strongly during the opening practice sessions of the weekend, Gus looked set to have a strong qualifying as well, with the car’s pace matching that of his and Dean Macdonald’s teammates. Unfortunately, the #32 crew was caught out by a red flag late in the session, meaning Gus didn’t have time to set his fast lap. With over three minutes left on the clock, the session wasn’t restarted, and the pair had to settle for a back of the grid start. Despite this setback, Gus was able to work his way through the field at the start of race one and make up an impressive 17 places before handing over to Dean. Dean also drove a brilliant second half of the race, ultimately crossing the line in P15.
Qualifying for race two was down to Charlie Fagg and Dean Macdonald, with Charlie placing the #23 McLaren third on the grid. Teammate Dean Macdonald qualified the #32 on the front row in second, but an unfortunate track limits violation saw his fastest lap removed, leaving him starting race two from eighth and Charlie from second.
The weather conditions ahead of race two were unpredictable, with rainfall leading up to the start of the second race. The team made the call to start the race on slick tyres, a risk that proved to be worth taking. Charlie had a great start off the line, taking the lead of the race heading into Eau Rouge. He set about extending his lead and in a mirror image from yesterday’s race, held off intense pressure from the second placed car to bring the #23 into the pits to hand over to Bailey as the pit window opened. Dean Macdonald, starting in eighth, made a great start and showed the pace of the #32 McLaren by comfortably making his way through the field to run in the top three, before pitting to hand the car over to Gus. Both the #23 and #32 left the pits at the same time, with Bailey ahead of Gus, running second and third. The two United Autosports McLarens had a good battle on track with not only each other, but also the fourth placed car, until Gus got caught out on the drying track and spun in the #32. Bailey continued in second place until a final lap battle with the third placed car saw them make slight contact, resulting in Bailey suffering from a left rear puncture. Bailey managed to drag the car over the line, eventually finishing fourth after a great weekend for the #23. Gus also recovered well and once again showed the pace of the #32 by crossing the line in sixth.
The team have now regained the lead of the GT4 Silver Championship in both the teams and drivers’ standings, heading into the next round at the Nürburgring on 3-5 September. The win for the #23 also marks the sixth consecutive race win for United Autosports at Spa Francorchamps, dating back to September 2018.
The next race for United Autosports is the Le Mans 24 Hours on 21-22 August, where the team will be fielding three Oreca 07 LMP2 cars in a bid to win their second consecutive Le Mans 24 Hours race. The team head into the race leading the FIA World Endurance Championship by 18 points.
“Overall, it was a reasonably strong weekend for us, with valuable points collected for the championship. It was great to get my first pole in qualifying and fastest lap in the race yesterday as well as winning overall. We were a bit unlucky in race two where we were battling for a podium but some damage to the rear meant we finished P4. Big thank you to the team for all their support this weekend.”
“It was a brilliant result for us in race one. The car was fantastic and the weekend has been great from start to finish. The second race was mixed with tricky conditions, but I really enjoyed my starting stint especially whilst the track was wet. We had a great car and I can’t thank United and McLaren enough.”
“We didn’t want to start where we did in race one, but I had a lot of fun moving through the field and making up places. Unfortunately, the second race was not what we wanted, and we look now to Germany to make it up.”
“Despite the first race not being ideal, we had really good race pace and it was a lot of fun moving through the pack. The second race proved tricky with the rain at the start but again, it was fun to attack and hand the car over to Gus in P2.”
Charlie Kemp, GT4 Team Manager:
“It was great to see the pace in both our cars all weekend. Both cars had some ups and downs throughout the weekend, but we go to the Nürburgring with Bailey and Charlie leading the Drivers’ Championships and with us also leading the Teams Championship.”