Paul di Resta will get the chance to defend his 24 Hours of Le Mans LMP2 class win from last year as part of United Autosports’ three-car entry into the 2021 edition.
The Scottish ex-Formula 1 driver and DTM champion won the 2020 LMP2 class race with United alongside his WEC co-drivers Filipe Albuquerque and Phil Hanson.
Di Resta will pilot the No. 23 Oreca 07 Gibson in this year’s running of Le Mans, while Albuquerque and Hanson will share the No. 22 machine with Fabio Scherer who is their new FIA World Endurance Championship full-season teammate.
Nico Jamin, who has joined United for the European Le Mans Series, is the first named driver of the team’s No. 32 Oreca for the 24-hour race on August 21-22.
Di Resta recently told Sportscar365 that he had been in discussions about working with United again in 2021 despite not being a part of the team’s WEC and ELMS crews.
Next year the 34-year-old will represent the Peugeot factory LMH team in the Hypercar class.
“It’s great news to announce that we are going back to the 2021 Le Mans 24 Hours,” said di Resta, who claimed last year’s Le Mans pole with an LMP2 lap record.
“It’s nice to be part of that journey again and trying to retain the win that we got with Phil and Filipe last year.
“It’s obviously a different setup this year, but it’ll be interesting to see how it goes with my new teammates when they are announced. I think it’s good that the ACO have taken action early with changing the date of the race to allow people to prepare.
“LMP2 looks very strong once again and Le Mans is the best race in the world to get to grips with, so it can’t come soon enough. Until then I’ll be doing as much as I can to get integrated into the team again and with my new teammates. I really appreciate the efforts from both Richard [Dean] and Zak [Brown, United co-owners] to get me back into it.”
United Autosports will have three Orecas at Le Mans this year after fielding two cars in 2020, although the team accrued a total of five automatic invitations to the race.
These were earned through its 2020 LMP2 class win, its ELMS titles in LMP2 and LMP3, finishing second in ELMS LMP2 and its recent triumph in the Asian Le Mans Series LMP3 category.
However, only a maximum of two automatic invitations can be used, regardless of how many are won by a single organization.
The No. 23 and No. 32 United Orecas cover the team’s auto entries, while the No. 22 holds a place on the grid due to its full-season WEC status.
One of the Anglo-American team’s entries will be entered under the United Autosports USA banner, while the other two will be registered under United Autosports UK.
The provisional 24 Hours of Le Mans entry list is due to be published on Tuesday.