United Autosports has confirmed two further LMP3 driver line-ups this week for the Gulf 12 Hours, after it announced that Richard Meins, Shaun Lynn and Jim McGuire would make up its first trio earlier this month. The Anglo-American team will compete with three JS P3s in the Middle-Eastern endurance race.
The first of the two new entries will see sportscar veteran Johnny Mowlem team up with his Red River Sport client Bon Girmes and Tony Wells.
All three drivers have previously raced for United Autosports, as Tony completed a full season in the 2017 Henderson Insurance LMP3 Cup Championship, finishing second in the championship after scoring four wins and nine podiums throughout the year. Mowlem and Grimes meanwhile, joined United for the final round of the British LMP3 series at Donington Park in the Red River Sport Ligier JS P3 (pictured below), marking their first outing in an LMP3 car.
“The Ligier JS P3 is a great car and we are looking forward to getting back behind the wheel in Abu Dhabi,” said Mowlem. “I’ve actually only raced at the Yas Marina circuit once and it was in a GT car, so never raced a prototype there, which I’m looking forward to. There’s lots of track time available at the Gulf 12 Hours, which is exactly what Bon and I need so we can optimise our potential in the Ligier and then we can go and have some fun.”
Bon Grimes added: “I’m enjoying the challenge of racing the Ligier JS P3. I’ve never raced at the Yas Marina circuit but it looks amazing on TV and I think it is going to be a big step up. There’s lots of running in the car that week and the track temperatures will be higher so getting the tyres to work should be easier and we can get a bit more feel in the car. Just spending more time in the Ligier will be great and we are really looking forward to that.”
The team’s second newly-announce line-up includes American duo Guy Cosmo and Patrick Byrne, joined by International GT Open regular Mike Benham who will make his prototype debut at the event. The team is set to race with four drivers in Abu Dhabi, its final driver announcement set to be made soon.
While Benham is new to LMP3 racing, Cosmo and Byrne have raced with United multiple times, their last appearance coming in the inaugural LMP3 Cup race at Snetterton at the end of 2016. Guy also previously raced for United Autosports at the very first Road to Le Mans event in June 2016, finishing fifth. Patrick and Guy are currently racing a Ligier JS P3 in the Asian Le Mans Series for the Jackie Chan DC Racing/JOTA Sport team and finished third in the opening race at Zhuhai, China.
“My very first experience with United Autosports at Le Mans was second to none, so any opportunity to rejoin this group comes without hesitation,” said Cosmo. “The Gulf 12 Hours is an iconic event that’s been on my radar for years now, so I’m thrilled for the opportunity to finally experience this race with my super-teammate Patrick Byrne. I’ve never been to the UAE so I’m equally excited for the travel and cultural experience, but make no mistake, Patrick and I have one goal and that is to win the Gulf 12 Hours.
“We haven’t met our teammates yet but have heard great things about them both. We look forward to coming together as a team, and with our respected friends and proven winners at United Autosports, we’ll have the ultimate opportunity for success in this race.”
Mike Benham, who has tested a JS P3 in preparation for his race debut added: “I hugely enjoyed the LMP3 test at Paul Ricard – both the car and indeed working with the personnel in the team, so I was keen to take the earliest opportunity to compete under the United Autosports banner. I am very much looking forward to being in a car which could easily be in the hunt for a win on the famous Yas Marina circuit.”
The Gulf 12 Hours is once again set to be a split race, the first half of the race beginning at 09:30 on Saturday 16th December. The second half of the race will begin later that day at 17:45.