United Autosports has reaffirmed plans to contest next month’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, despite earlier concerns over IMSA’s Balance of Performance in the Prototype class.
The Anglo-American team’s participation in the remainder of the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup had been in question following the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring and post-race comments from team owners Zak Brown and Richard Dean.
United’s No. 32 Ligier JS P217 Gibson of Paul Di Resta, Alex Brundle and Phil Hanson finished that race in fifth, although largely due to attrition, in what Brown described LMP2 cars being in “another category” to DPis.
However, Dean believes that recent strides in the BoP, in what he says has been “baby steps” by IMSA to put the two platforms on more equal footing, has given them reason to believe that LMP2 cars can now fight for the overall win.
Di Resta and Hanson will be joined by Bruno Senna in the six-hour race.
“We’re going to go, we’re committed to it,” Dean told Sportscar365.
“They’ve chipped away at it and Watkins Glen is always going to suit the car. I think it’s more circuit-related that’s giving us the encouragement.”
The team’s commitment to the season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans, however, remains a bit unclear, according to Dean, as a change by Road Atlanta in the date of a planned two-day private test could alter its plans.
Dean said they were due to have meetings at Le Mans last weekend to work out a solution, although indicated its preferred option would be to have an opportunity to test at the circuit prior to the Oct. 13 race.
While United has based one of its Ligiers at Andretti Autosport’s workshop in Indianapolis, the team’s existing programs in the European Le Mans Series, Michelin Le Mans Cup and several other races has created logistical challenges for its crew, particularly through the summer months.
Jackie Chan DCR Unlikely for Remainder of NAEC
The Jota Sport-run Jackie Chan DC Racing squad, meanwhile, is unlikely to return to WeatherTech Championship competition this year, according to team co-owner David Cheng.
While having contested the Rolex 24 at Daytona with two Oreca 07 Gibsons, the Chinese-backed operation elected to skip Sebring, amid preparations for the FIA World Endurance Championship season.
Cheng indicated to Sportscar365 that the BoP disparity, and more precisely the freedoms DPi cars get over the standard ACO-spec LMP2 machinery has made it difficult for the team to commit to additional races at this time.
It will likely result in 16-car Prototype field for Watkins Glen, with the return of Performance Tech Motorsports’ Oreca 07 Gibson and United’s commitment for its single LMP2 entry.