Venezuelan driver Manuel Maldonado, cousin of F1 Grand Prix winner Pastor Maldonado will join United Autosports for both the Asian Le Mans Series and the European Le Mans Series in 2021.
Maldonado began his career in karting, before moving into single-seaters and racing in the Italian F4 Championship. He has raced in the MRF Challenge Formula 2000 and completed three seasons in British F3, most recently finishing sixth in the F3 championship in 2019. In 2020 Manuel raced in the Euroformula Open, scoring four podiums and finishing fourth in the championship.
He will race one of three Ligier JS P320 cars entered into the Asian Le Mans Series by United Autosports, with the series due to start in February in Abu Dhabi. The team have already announced that Jim McGuire, Andrew Bentley, Duncan Tappy, Ian Loggie, Andy Meyrick and Rob Wheldon will pilot their first two entered Ligiers.
After the Asian Le Mans Series, Manuel will then switch to United’s LMP2 team, racing in the European Le Mans Series, alongside Job van Uitert in the team’s #32 Oreca 07. The European Le Mans Series is due to start in April at Barcelona.
Manuel’s Asian Le Mans Series teammates will be announced in due course. Job and Manuel’s teammate in the #32 Oreca 07 for the European Le Mans Series will be announced in the coming weeks.
Manuel Maldonado: “I am extremely proud to be joining United Autosports for the 2021 Asian Le Mans Series and the European Le Mans Series. It is now time for me to start a very exciting new chapter in my career and to be doing so with a top tier team like United couldn’t be better. The motivation is high and I can only wish to be adding more success to their tally.
Racing in the Asian Le Mans Series is crucial to starting my endurance preparation as there is so much to learn in this new world of prototype endurance racing for me. I think that this is a great opportunity to get ready for the European season. The ELMS will be exciting with a very competitive field and an amazing car, which the LMP2 is, but I believe we have the right line up and package to aim for high results straight away. I can’t wait to get the season started.”
Zak Brown: “I’m really pleased Manuel will be joining our team for 2021. The Asian Le Mans Series will be good preparation ahead of the European Le Mans Series for him and I can’t wait to see how he gets on.”
Richard Dean: “I’m looking forward to welcoming Manuel to the team for the 2021 season, racing in both the Asian and the European series. Although this is his first time racing in prototypes, I’m sure he will settle into the team well and quickly get up to speed with both the LMP3 and LMP2 cars. I was very impressed when I first met Manuel and I felt he would fit into the team very well. Our aim is to be once again fighting for wins and championships and Manuel will be a crucial part of that.”