United Autosports aims to sign off from its maiden FIA GT3 European Championship campaign in style when it contests the final two races of the season at Zolder (Belgium) next month (October 10).
Formed earlier this season, the American-owned team found the opening rounds of the ultra-competitive 12-race series unsurprisingly difficult - entirely predictable considering its one British and three American drivers had not seen, let alone raced, at almost all of the demanding and technical European tracks.
The unfavorable "Balance of Power" restrictions implemented from the start of the season in May on the Audi R8 LMS sports car, which had won the 2009 FIA GT3 title in its début year, by the series organizers additionally caused the British-based team to struggle in terms of outright pace.
But with the Audi?s performance handicap reduced, United Autosports immediately made its mark at the most recent races in Portugal (September 18-19). Zak Brown (USA), Chairman and Co-Owner of United Autosports plus driver of the #23 Audi, achieved the team?s best ever qualifying position (second place). Co-driver Matt Bell (GB) and #22 Audi pilot Michael Guasch (USA) both claimed their personal best qualifying positions (sixth). Guasch and #22 co-driver Mark Patterson (USA) netted United Autosports? maiden championship point in Race 1 (10th). Then Brown and Bell combined to score a fabulous rostrum finish (third) in Race 2.
These stunning results mean United Autosports heads for Belgium and the final two 60-minute races, unusually staged on the same day, on the crest of a wave. The Circuit Zolder, also known as Circuit Terlaemen, is an undulating 2.492-mile track in Heusden-Zolder, positioned 50-mile west of Brussels.
Built in 1963, Zolder hosted the Formula One Belgian Grand Prix on 10 occasions in the 1970s and ?80s when the F1 "circus" deemed Spa-Francorchamps, a venue where United Autosports finished third and fourth (GT3) in the 24 Hour race this summer, too fast and dangerous.
Saturday October 9
0905-1005 Practice 1
1305-1405 Practice 2
Sunday October 10
1030-1130 Race 1
1600-1700 Race 2
#22 Molecule / Cerutti - Audi R8 LMS
Michael Guasch (USA). Lives: Walnut Creek, California, USA: