United Autosports has confirmed that it will step up to the FIA World Endurance Championship next season.
The Anglo-American squad, which took a class podium in last year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, will enter a single Ligier JS P217 Gibson in 2019-20.
United’s European Le Mans Series drivers Filipe Albuquerque and Phil Hanson are the first two announced for the WEC program, with a third to be revealed at a later date.
It will mark United’s first full season in the top tier of sports car racing after two years running LMP2 machinery in the ELMS.
“It’s been no secret that we have been trying to put a deal together to race in the FIA World Endurance Championship for some time now,” said United Autosports managing director Richard Dean.
“It has relied on a lot of factors fitting together but I think it is the perfect time for United Autosports to make the next step in sports car racing.
“We have two great drivers in Phil and Filipe. Filipe really has brought Phil on in only one year of working with him, so I’m confident that will only continue into the coming years.
“We have ultimate belief in Ligier Automotive and relish this opportunity to take on a world championship with their full support.”
United started out with a pair of LMP3-class Ligier JS P3 Nissans in the 2016 ELMS, before stepping up to the LMP2 ranks with a single car the following year.
It then doubled its ELMS stable in 2018, along with expansion into the Asian Le Mans Series and a debut entry into the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Former LMP1 driver Albuquerque, who won the two most recent ELMS races with Hanson, said he had “unfinished business” in the WEC.
“I finished [second] in 2016 in LMP2 [with RGR Sport by Morand] so now with Phil Hanson and United I think we really have the package to win,” he said.
“I’m excited to be racing in the 2019 ELMS and then going into the FIA WEC with them. It’s a good relationship we have together and we have been winning some races so why not continue and let’s see where we end up.”