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European Le Mans Series

Manuel Maldonado to Make Sports Car Debut with United

Manuel Maldonado to make sports car debut in United Autosports’ LMP2 lineup…

Photo: United Autosports

Venezuelan driver Manuel Maldonado will make his sports car racing debut this year driving for United Autosports in the European Le Mans Series LMP2 category.

Reigning LMP2 champion United has confirmed that Maldonado, the cousin of former FIA World Endurance Championship driver and Grand Prix winner Pastor Maldonado, will join Job van Uitert in the No. 32 Oreca 07 Gibson for the ELMS season.

The 21-year-old will also represent United in the Asian Le Mans Series next month, driving the team’s third Ligier JS P320 Nissan.

United’s first two Asian LMS lineups have already been announced, while open-wheel racer Maldonado is the first member of the third crew to be confirmed.

“I’m looking forward to welcoming Manuel to the team for the 2021 season, racing in both the Asian and the European series,” said United Autosports co-owner Richard Dean.

“Although this is his first time racing in prototypes, I’m sure he will settle into the team well and quickly get up to speed with both the LMP3 and LMP2 cars.

“I was very impressed when I first met Manuel and I felt he would fit into the team very well. Our aim is to be once again fighting for wins and championships and Manuel will be a crucial part of that.”

Maldonado spent the 2020 season in Euroformula Open where he fourth in the points.

Prior to that, he spent three seasons in the BRDC British Formula 3 Championship driving for Fortec Motorsports.

“I am extremely proud to be joining United Autosports for the 2021 Asian Le Mans Series and the European Le Mans Series,” said Maldonado.

“It is now time for me to start a very exciting new chapter in my career and to be doing so with a top tier team like United couldn’t be better.

“The motivation is high and I can only wish to be adding more success to their tally.

“Racing in the Asian Le Mans Series is crucial to starting my endurance preparation as there is so much to learn in this new world of prototype endurance racing for me.

“The ELMS will be exciting with a very competitive field and an amazing car, which the LMP2 is, but I believe we have the right line up and package to aim for high results straight away. I can’t wait to get the season started.”

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

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