United Autosports will run a Ligier JS P217 Gibson in the European Le Mans Series and 24 Hours of Le Mans, the team announced on Thursday at Autosport International.
After a successful ELMS campaign in 2016, which included winning three out of six races and securing the LMP3 championship with one round to go, the British team has decided to run a new-for-2017 Ligier LMP2 car alongside its two existing LMP3 entries.
As a result of the team’s automatic invite for winning the LMP3 championship, United Autosports has also confirmed today that its Ligier JS P217 will also contest the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Will Owen and Hugo de Sadeleer have been announced as drivers and the car’s livery was unveiled at Autosport International, however the third driver yet to be announced.
Nineteen-year-old de Sadeleer, has so far focused his career on European single-seater racing, competing in the Formula Renault 2.0 series in 2016.
Meanwhile, American single-seater star Owen took part in the Bahrain Rookie Test at the end of the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship season, and got his first taste of the outgoing Ligier JS P2 with RGR Sport.
“I’m honestly so excited,” Owen told Sportscar365. “I didn’t really know which direction we were going to go a few months ago, but like Richard [Dean] said [on stage at the announcement], this has all come together really quickly for United Autosports.
“Now that I’m here and we’ve figured this out and sorted out the deal, I’m really excited. I don’t think we could have figured out anything better for next year.”
The team is yet to confirm who will fill the third seat in the car, but United Autosports co-founder Zak Brown confirmed that Alex Brundle, who formed part of the team’s LMP3 championship-winning lineup in 2016, is in the running.
“We want a very fast, very experienced driver alongside Hugo and Will,” Brown said. “Alex Brundle, who drove for us last year, did an outstanding job and was absolutely dominant in the car, and he then went on and did unbelievably well in LMP2.
“We’re trying to get the economics together to try and get Alex or someone of his caliber, but he did a great job for us and someone like himself deserves to be in a top-line drive.”