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Di Resta Joins United Autosports for Rolex 24

Paul di Resta to make 24-hour race debut with United at Rolex 24…

Photo: DTM

Paul di Resta is the latest driver to be added to United Autosports’ two-car lineup for the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the team announced on Thursday.

The former DTM champion and Formula 1 driver will join Will Owen in one of the team’s two Ligier JS P217 Gibsons for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season-opener in January.

He completed three seasons of Formula 1 between 2011 and 2013 before making a return to DTM with Mercedes-AMG. The Scot currently serves as Williams Martini Racing’s reserve driver.

“I’m really looking forward to racing at Daytona and with United Autosports,” he said. “I’ve never done a 24-hour race and never raced a prototype so it’s all new to me, but I’m looking forward to the challenge.

“Entering a 24-hour race is something I’ve looked at doing before and when Zak asked, I jumped at the opportunity. The Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona is getting bigger every year, so it’s great to be part of it.

“I plan to do some testing ahead of the race to get integrated into the team and to get a shot at driving the car prior to heading to Daytona in January.”

The team has previously announced it has signed Lando Norris and Phil Hanson as the first two drivers in its other Ligier for the January race.

“I’m pleased we have managed to pull together a deal for Paul to join the team at Daytona,” said team owner and chairman Zak Brown.

“Although he’s not driven our car before, he’s had plenty of racing experience in different categories so I’m confident he will have a good race and enjoy being with the team.”

No Button for Rolex 24

Brown, meanwhile, has ruled out Jenson Button being part of the team’s lineup for Daytona.

Brown told Sportscar365 in August that he was in discussions with the 2009 F1 World Champion about a possible one-off drive in the Rolex 24, prior to him being linked to the Penske Acura DPi program, which didn’t materialize.

“Jenson won’t be driving for us,” Brown told Sportscar365. “I don’t know what he’s going to be doing. I thought he was going to be in the Penske car. Not sure what happened there.”

John Dagys contributed to this report

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist focusing on European series for Sportscar365. Kilshaw was the founder of WorldSportsCar.co.uk and is a member of the Autosport Academy. Contact Jake

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Pierre

    October 19, 2017 at 4:42 am

    Does that confirm he won’t be at Williams F1 then?

    • Sean

      October 19, 2017 at 8:31 am

      Not necessarily. It’s just for one race (so far), and it’s a couple of months before the F1 season starts so he could still do F1 if Williams want him. I guess he’s keeping his options open while not committing to one category. If he does well at Daytona and he isn’t racing in F1 then it opens the door for him in sportscars.

  2. AF

    October 19, 2017 at 5:22 am

    JB’s ESM bound for the long races, alongside a Super GT drive with Nissan. Lets not forget, he almost drove for them at Le Mans in 2015, and as he’s staying in an ambassadorial role at McLaren.

    • Mo

      October 19, 2017 at 9:22 am

      Read somewhere else that sources close to JB said there has been no talks with Nissan concerning Super GT or IMSA.

    • thomas

      October 20, 2017 at 7:05 am

      Except his staff have confirmed that he has had no discussions with Nissan

  3. NASCAR/DPs Suck

    October 19, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    Di Resta is smart to get some prototype experience since the DTM is collapsing due to the exit of Mercedes. Once they do away he doesn’t have a ride and there will not be the DTM opportunities for him that once existed.

  4. AMGMerc

    October 19, 2017 at 6:07 pm

    Good to see, I’ve always liked Di Resta, I think he never got a proper shot at F1, but his age is against him in that category now. I’d love to see him get a top drive in SportsCars as many former F1 drivers are finding out, who are still plenty quick. Now with the news Alonso may joint UA, for Daytona, this has the potential to be a very formidable group in the making.

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