Matt Bell will return to the United Autosports team next year to compete in the LMP3 class of the European Le Mans Series. This move also reunites the British racer with South African Mark Patterson, reconnecting a successful partnership that has taken many top results in recent years.
“It’s great to be back with United Autosports and Mark (Patterson) again,” said Bell. “I started my career with them back in 2010 and we have had some great seasons together. I took United’s maiden podium and their maiden win so I just need to win their first championship in order to get the full set.”
This will be the first time that Bell has competed in a full season in a Le Mans Prototype car but many years at the sharp end of the GT battle – most recently winning the last British GT round of 2015 – will stand him in good stead for the challenge that awaits him.
“This will be my first foray into prototype racing and I’m excited to get my hands on a new type of car,” explained Bell. “Mark already has plenty of experience in prototypes so I hope his knowledge will help to fast track my learning curve. He’s a great team-mate and I can’t wait to stuck into LMP3 testing with him.”
“I can’t wait to reconnect on multiple levels,” said Patterson. “The UA family, another year in prototypes and especially with Matt who brings quickness, speed and total focus to every track, every weekend.”
Businessman Zak Brown and racing driver Richard Dean founded Leeds-based United Autosports back in 2009, and since then it has become one of the top GT and sports car teams.
The team has already taken delivery of its Ligier JS P3 cars, and will announce the third driver for the Bell/Patterson car next year.
“I’m thrilled to have Mark and Matt back with the team,” Dean said. “They are an incredible pairing, Mark is one of the fastest bronze drivers I know and Matt has proved he is a formidable racer over his short career too. They both know the team very well and we are all excited to have them back on board.”
United Autosports will begin testing the Ligier JS P3 in the new year.