United Autosports has announced that Alex Brundle has resigned with the team for the 2020 European Le Mans Series season and pending an invite, the Le Mans 24 Hours.
The 2016 ELMS LMP2 title winner will continue to compete with United in one of its LMP2 class ORECA 07 Gibsons, on Michelin tyres. During 2019, Brundle, alongside Will Owen and Ryan Cullen, finished third at Monza in May with Ligier before going on to finish fourth at the final round of the 2019 ELMS season at Portimao in an ORECA.
Brundle told DSC that the ORECA-Michelin-United combination is one that he feels is capable of scoring big results during the season.
“Firstly, me choosing to resign is only one half of a 50-50 deal,” he said. “They chose to resign me when there are a lot of drivers in the marketplace, with less and less teams with sponsorship. So it’s quite flattering. From my side, in 2019 we had a good year and moved to ORECA during the season, a big interruption in the programme.
“We put in good performances but it was a massive ask to get the job done straight away. Now with the winter to build on what we did with the end of last season, we have the ultimate package in LMP2 at the moment, at ORECA on Michelins is very exciting.”
A big plus, Brundle says, is having the chance to return to Le Mans for a seventh time as part of this deal, pending the team gaining entry to the 2020 race with one of its ELMS ORECAs.
“Missing Le Mans for a sportscar driver is a big no,” he continued. “You have to be there, especially with all the hypercar movements that are happening. It’s good to have a seat there, pending entry. I’d like to think United is in a good position to receive an entry for the ELMS car. I love the chance to compete there, it’s a privilege, all six times I’ve been it has been a privilege to go. To go with a package like I have this year, with a strong line-up.”
The news that three manufacturers are now signed up for ‘Hypercar’, with Peugeot announcing its plans last week, will have a positive effect on the current LMP2 marketplace. Brundle says he will relish the chance to show what he can do before the ‘Hypercar’ factory teams go racing in the ELMS, which features a huge LMP2 class.
“You’ve got to say credit to the organisers,” he explained, “all through the early stages there were various voices coming out saying ‘hypercar’ wouldn’t work, it would not attract manufactures. And here we sit now, one Le Mans to go before the regs debut, and we have Toyota, Aston and Peugeot committed to putting cars in the WEC.
“Three manufacturers in my era is the most I’ve seen in the top class for Le Mans. Potentially we have multiple cars and customer teams hoovering up drivers for programmes in the ‘hypercar’ ranks, so it’s great news for the sport.
“Now, we’ll make a plan into early next year. The cogs are now working to get good drivers next to me.”
United is expected to announce who will partner Brundle in the ELMS next season, and its full plans for the series, in due course.
“I am delighted we have an agreement in place with Alex so soon after the end of the 2019 season,” concluded team owner Richard Dean. “We have enjoyed a lot of success together and Alex is always quick and reliable in a race car. We have a lot of work to do over the winter and this will be our first full season with ORECA in LMP2. I am sure Alex’s pace and experience will help us further develop the car and achieve our goals.”