Manuel Maldonado will make his 24 Hours of Le Mans debut this year with defending LMP2 winner United Autosports, the team announced on Wednesday.
The younger cousin of Grand Prix winner Pastor Maldonado has been named as a driver of United’s No. 32 Oreca 07 Gibson alongside Nico Jamin and Jonathan Aberdein.
The 21-year-old Venezuelan switched to sports cars this year and won the Asian Le Mans Series title with United in February, before securing a place on the team’s European Le Mans Series LMP2 roster.
Maldonado races with Jamin and Job van Uitert in the ELMS. Van Uitert is representing his FIA World Endurance Championship outfit, Racing Team Nederland, at Le Mans.
United has now named all but one of its drivers for the race on August 21-22.
The remaining team member to be announced is a Silver-rated pilot who will join ex-Aston Martin ace Alex Lynn and defending LMP2 winner Paul di Resta in the No. 23 car.
Filipe Albuquerque, Phil Hanson and Fabio Scherer form the No. 22 full-time WEC trio.
“It couldn’t be a more exciting opportunity,” said Maldonado, whose older cousin Pastor contested Le Mans twice with DragonSpeed as part of a 2018-19 WEC season drive.
“The biggest race, with the reigning champions of Le Mans, I couldn’t be in a better place.
“Time to get my head down and focus on the race, there is a huge amount of preparation.
“I know how much this race means to everyone and I am so grateful to United for the opportunity.
“I am hoping for the best, and I am sure we will do great. It’s going to be very tough, as it’s the longest race I’ve ever done, but I know lots of preparation will be done beforehand.”
Brown, Dean Call Off Zandvoort GT4 Cameo
United Autosports co-owners Zak Brown and Richard Dean have called off their planned entry into this weekend’s GT4 European Series round due to Brown’s attendance at the French Grand Prix.
McLaren CEO Brown will be at Paul Ricard where McLaren is racing in commemoration of long-time investor Mansour Ojjeh, who passed away earlier this month at the age of 68.
Brown and Dean were due to share a McLaren 570S GT4 at Zandvoort, joining United Autosports’ two full-season entries on the grid for their first race sharing a current-generation GT car in a decade.
Sportscar365 understands that Brown and Dean are looking to postpone their GT4 European Series outing to a later event on the schedule, potentially the Spa round in July.