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United Autosports to hitch IMSA in 2024 after WEC axes LMP2 class

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The transfer was introduced by the 2019/20 P2 champion workforce within the wake of confirmation on Friday that there will be no P2 class on the earth championship subsequent season. 

United, which is co-owned by McLaren Racing boss Zak Brown, will make its first full-season IMSA assault with a pair of ORECA-Gibson 07s whereas persevering with to compete in each the European and Asian Le Mans Sequence subsequent yr. 

Workforce boss Richard Dean defined that the “redirection of our total WEC workforce” to IMSA was for the “foreseeable future”. 

He revealed that competing in IMSA full-time was a long-held ambition for United after taking in a complete of eight races within the North American sequence since 2018.

“It’s straightforward for us to say that we’ve got all the time wished to do a full season in IMSA proper now, nevertheless it’s true,” he instructed Autosport. 

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“This has given us the mandatory kick up the bottom to go and do it.”

#22 United Autosports Oreca LMP2 07: James McGuire, Man Smith, Duncan Tappy

Picture by: Richard Dole / Motorsport Images

Dean described the disappearance of P2 from the WEC as “a disgrace”, however stated he understood the choice made by sequence organisers the FIA and the Vehicle Membership de l’Ouest. 

“It’s as a direct results of the success of Hypercar, which for the game as a complete can solely be a great factor,” he stated. 

There can be no room for P2 because the Hypercar subject grid expands to twenty or extra automobiles and the brand new LMGT3 class takes over from GTE Am. 

Dean insisted that United nonetheless has ambitions to graduate to the premier class of the WEC sooner or later sooner or later. 

“Completely, we nonetheless wish to race in Hypercar; the ambition hasn’t modified,” he stated. 

“We’re nonetheless engaged on it and pushing onerous, however there has obtained to be a door that’s unlocked if it will occur.”

United isn’t underestimating the problem that can be introduced by racing in IMSA, in line with Dean. 

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“We’ve received races within the WEC, ELMS and Asian sequence each time we’ve got entered automobiles, however it will be completely unsuitable to imagine that we’re going to do the identical in IMSA,” he stated. 

“It is extremely completely different and we’re not underestimating the problem.”

Dean confirmed that United has but to signal any drivers for its IMSA programme.

He additionally reaffirmed United’s intention to make a bid for 2 of the 15 grid slots to be reserved for P2 rivals on the Le Mans 24 Hours subsequent yr.

It’ll proceed within the ELMS with a programme focussed on LMP2 and can be aiming to proceed in each P2 and LMP3 within the expanded 2024 Asian sequence.

United first raced in IMSA in its personal proper on the 2018 Daytona 24 Hours when it fielded a Ligier-Gibson JS P217 for Fernando Alonso, Lando Norris and Phil Hanson. 

Its most up-to-date Stateside programme got here with an ORECA eventually yr’s Daytona and Sebring enduros. 

United additionally entered automobiles in two of the massive US enduros in 2011 at the side of different groups. 

It joined forces with Michael Shank Racing to subject a Riley-Ford MkXX at Daytona when it was a spherical of the Grand American Sportscar Sequence after which OAK Racing to run a Pescarolo-Judd/BMW 01 LMP2 on the American Le Mans Sequence 1000-mile enduro at Street Atlanta.

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