Phil Hanson says that his recent experience in the European Le Mans Series will help him on his progression to the FIA World Endurance Championship with United Autosports.
The 19-year-old Brit was named alongside Filipe Albuquerque in United’s inaugural WEC campaign next season with a Ligier JS P217 Gibson.
Hanson made his ELMS debut in 2016 driving a Tockwith Motorsports Ligier JS P3 Nissan, before stepping up to LMP2 the following year.
He then switched to United’s LMP2 program for 2018 and went on to win the final two races of the year with Albuquerque at Spa and Portimao.
“ELMS LMP2 last year was incredibly competitive, it is extremely strong and is likely to be like that again this year, so I believe the intensity of ELMS will prepare me well for WEC,” said Hanson.
“I may find WEC to be even tougher when we join the grid at Silverstone in August but it won’t come as a shock to the system because of my ELMS experience.
“I’m expecting the WEC to be very similar but obviously it differs with the fly-away races that can either be four, like I’m used to in ELMS, six, eight or 24 hours in duration.”
Hanson, who also races for United Autosports in the Asian Le Mans Series with Paul di Resta, said stability was a major factor in his decision to stick with the Richard Dean and Zak Brown-led operation.
“It’s important for me to stay in the same environment moving up to WEC,” he said.
“United has also shown that it’s a very good team with its ELMS and Le Mans performances.
“It also helps that Filipe is going to be one of my co-drivers. I raced with him in ELMS last season and will do so again in 2019. I’m always totally confident he’ll do an amazing job while he’s someone I’m constantly learning from.”
Hanson is targeting the LMP2 title in his first term of WEC competition and believes 2019 can be his “most rewarding and successful” year of racing to date.
“I’m looking forward to another hectic year,” he said.
“It’s likely to be 13 races with more test days too. This will allow me to get more familiar with the Ligier and gain greater experience.
“This is crucial, especially in endurance racing. Being comfortable and as one with the car is vital.”