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United to Make Daytona Return as Part of Endurance Campaign

United Autosports to make first Rolex 24 start since 2018 as part of returning MEC effort…

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

United Autosports will return to the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January as part of an endurance-focused IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship program in the LMP2 class next year.

The 2019-20 FIA World Endurance Championship LMP2 title-winning squad will tackle the Michelin Endurance Cup schedule consisting of the Rolex 24, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen and Motul Petit Le Mans.

Jim McGuire and Le Mans winner Guy Smith are the first confirmed drivers, with a third regular co-driver and a fourth additional teammate for Daytona to be determined.

McGuire and Smith teamed up with Wayne Boyd in the IMSA LMP2 ranks this year, sharing the No. 22 United Autosports Oreca at three of the four Endurance Cup races.

The only MEC round that United Autosports didn’t enter was Daytona, which it last contested in 2018 with a lineup that included Fernando Alonso and Lando Norris.

The Anglo-American team’s highest-finishing car at its last Rolex 24 was the fourth-placed Ligier JS P217 Gibson of Paul di Resta, Will Owen, Hugo de Sadeleer and Bruno Senna.

United announced plans to enter the 2021 Daytona edition with its LMP3 program, but those plans were shelved due to IMSA’s driver categorization rules for the class.

The team went on to appear in LMP3 twice this year, at Watkins Glen and the 10-hour Petit Le Mans finale.

“The whole IMSA team under John Doonan have done everything they can to make us feel welcome in their series and the racing is just fantastic,” said United Autosports co-owner Richard Dean.

“The highlight will be to head back to Daytona for the 24-hour race. It is such an incredible event and we have been looking to get back to it since we last raced there in 2018.

“I’m pleased to welcome Jim and Guy back to our IMSA team too. Jim has done a fantastic job this year, consistently pushing himself every race and at Petit Le Mans he really did show how far he had come with a super strong performance.

“There will be a lot of work for the team between now and the ROAR before the 24 as it’s only seven weeks away, but I can’t wait to get back there in January already.”

Bronze-rated driver McGuire added that he “learned a lot” during the three-race North American LMP2 program that the United team operated this season.

“I’m super excited to return to IMSA next year with United Autosports in the Oreca LMP2 for the full endurance championship,” said the American.

“In 2021, we ran three of the four races, and we learned a lot. We had an exceptional time and the team put forth an amazing effort to execute and make it all happen.

“I’m really looking forward to returning. I think we will have good pace and I’m hoping to be chasing for podium finishes.”

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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