United Autosports has ‘no conflict’ in managing its double-duty effort at two separate events in the Middle East this weekend.
The team is running its FIA World Endurance Championship LMP2 program at the 8 Hours of Bahrain on the same weekend as the Gulf 12 Hours in Abu Dhabi in which it has entered its LMP3.
Both entries will start the respective Saturday races on pole in class, with the WEC Oreca 07 Gibson having claimed the LMP2 pole in Bahrain and the Ligier JSP3 Nissan on top of the Prototype class at Yas Marina Circuit.
Managing director Richard Dean says the British outfit is managing the double duty without any added stress due to its procedure of running each of the cars as “independent teams”.
As a result of this practice, in which each of United’s cars have its own spares, garage equipment, and staff, there is minimal crossover within the team, making a double duty like this weekend possible.
“Thankfully there are not many people in the team that have a conflict of duty across both events,” Dean told Sportscar365.
“United Autosports, how it operates underneath the title we have independent teams; Michelin Le Mans Cup LMP3 team, the European Le Mans LMP3 team, the LMP2 team in ELMS and the WEC LMP2 team.
“There’s a lot of crossover between the ELMS and WEC teams, but almost no crossover and sharing of kit, equipment, staff in our Michelin Le Mans Cup team and it’s the Michelin Le Mans Cup team that we’ve sent to the Gulf 12 Hours to run the P3.
“The people that do have the crossover are probably me, [the] media side and the logistics and planning but we’re well-versed at it now, it hasn’t been too difficult.”
Dean himself is one of the only team members split between the two Middle East events this weekend, spending time at both on the ground.
He devoted the first part of the weekend to his LMP3 crew at the Gulf 12 Hours, before departing Abu Dhabi and traveling to Bahrain for WEC on Thursday night in time for qualifying on Friday and Saturday’s eight-hour race for the LMP2 squad.
“I went to the Gulf 12 Hours for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday and left there Thursday after the Free Practice session that was on the Thursday evening,” Dean explained.
“I’m then here Friday, Saturday; thankfully I’m less and less involved, I don’t sit on the pit wall, I don’t call the race, I’m not trying to do the debriefings and coaching and sat pouring through data.
“We’ve hired some exceptionally talented people and it would only go downhill if I started interfering in that. Makes my job a lot easier.”
Team Eager to Extend WEC Program
Undertaking its first full WEC season, Dean says discussions on extending the United program will begin in the coming months, expressing a desire to continue in the WEC.
“We’re enjoying the WEC program; we haven’t come into it for one year, we want to stay in it for a second year,” he said.
“That doesn’t mean to say we’re a shoe-in and guaranteed because there’s a lot of work, it’s a huge budget to raise and it’s a big commitment to race in WEC.
“We want to stay in it, but we haven’t made any firm plans yet.”