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Albuquerque, Hanson Return to United with New Co-Driver

Filipe Albuquerque, Phil Hanson back with United for 2021; Scherer joins as Silver driver…

Photo: United Autosports

Reigning FIA World Endurance LMP2 champions Filipe Albuquerque and Phil Hanson will return to United Autosports next season with a new co-driver in Fabio Scherer.

United announced on Friday that the reigning WEC and European Le Mans Series drivers’ champions will share an Oreca 07 Gibson with DTM driver Scherer in 2021.

Scherer joins as the mandatory Silver-rated driver, following Hanson’s promotion to Gold status after a title-winning year for the 21-year-old Brit.

Albuquerque, meanwhile, is set to contest both the WEC and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship after his recent confirmation as a member of Wayne Taylor Racing’s new Acura DPi lineup in North America.

However, the Portuguese driver is now facing a date clash between the IMSA round at Long Beach and the WEC 6 Hours of Fuji after the WeatherTech Championship published an update to its 2021 schedule on Thursday.

Albuquerque and Hanson were joined by Paul di Resta for United’s 2019-20 WEC debut.

The trio won four of the season’s eight races including the 24 Hours of Le Mans which guaranteed United the team’s title, while di Resta missed out on being classified as a drivers’ champion because he missed last year’s 6 Hours of Fuji due to a DTM date clash.

Albuquerque and Hanson also dominated the ELMS season together as a pairing.

United Autosports co-owner Richard Dean previously spoke of a desire to keep his title-winning drivers on board next year despite Hanson’s change in driver rating and Albuquerque’s impending move to a full-time IMSA role.

“We are delighted to have Phil and Filipe with us once again,” said Dean following United’s 2021 WEC lineup announcement.

“They are very much part of the United family. They have both shown what they are capable of by winning the World Endurance Championship, Le Mans and the ELMS together last season and it is an exciting challenge for us to attempt to retain our titles in 2021.

“I’m also delighted to welcome Fabio to the team. His F3 and DTM experience will help him adapt to sports cars and although it will be his first time racing in the WEC, I’m sure he will settle into the team and get up to speed quickly to help us defend our FIA WEC LMP2 title.”

New signing Scherer contested the 2018 FIA European Formula 3 season with Motopark before moving to FIA Formula 3 the following year with the Sauber Junior Team.

He then switched to closed-roof competition in 2020 as part of Team WRT’s three-man lineup for the DTM season, which was highlighted by a pair of fifth-place finishes at Zolder for the 21-year-old Swiss racer.

“I am very happy to be part of the United Autosports team for 2021,” said Scherer.

“To team up with the reigning champions and Le Mans winners Phil Hanson and Filipe Albuquerque is a great opportunity and another big step in my career.”

United’s ELMS LMP2 entries have yet to be confirmed, while the team has so far only announced one WEC LMP2 car, although Dean has previously said that an expanded two-car program is under review for next year.

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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