Spa 24H: United Autosports - Richard Dean preview

Richard Dean (GB). Age: 45. Born & Lives: Leeds, West Yorkshire, England Spa 24Hr: Debut. Spa History: Debut August 29 1992/Ret (F3000). F3000 (1992), FIA GT (1997/24th/12th), British GT (1998/6th/2nd 1999/2nd). Last race at Spa: September 26...

Richard Dean (GB). Age: 45. Born & Lives: Leeds, West Yorkshire, England

Spa 24Hr: Debut. Spa History: Debut August 29 1992/Ret (F3000). F3000 (1992), FIA GT (1997/24th/12th), British GT (1998/6th/2nd 1999/2nd). Last race at Spa: September 26 1999 (British GT). Other 24Hr races: WillHire (GB), BritCar (GB), Nurburgring, Le Mans (2006/15th/1st, 2007/23rd/5th, 2009), Mondello Park (IRL), Daytona (2010/33rd/20th), Dubai (2010).

Shares #68 Remington / Singapore Stock Exchange / Road & Track / Legends of Motorsports / LG Electronics Audi R8 LMS with Zak Brown (USA), Mark Blundell (GB) and Eddie Cheever (USA).

"I'm Co-Owner of United Autosports along with Zak [Brown] and we're blessed with an amazing driver line-up -- Zak and I have big smiles on our faces. When I walked in to the Signing On room with Eddie, Mark and Stefan on the Spa Test Day, everyone stared -- and it wasn't at me! That was the precedent for the day as there were a lot of fans around during the day getting their autographs and I'm sure that will continue during the race week itself.

"I began motor racing over 25 years ago, my father Tony having been a successful single-seater and sportscar driver in Europe, and I raced against Mark [Blundell] a few times in Formula Ford 1600 while of course I remember watching both Eddie and Stefan in Formula One.

"I raced the Audi R8 LMS in our debut race at Oulton Park (GB) back in April as a warm-up to the FIA GT3 series we're contesting and have since drove in a couple of tests including at Spa a couple of weeks back. I've raced at Spa a few times and let's be honest, who wouldn't like coming to Spa? Even as a spectator, it's a tremendous place to be, but to drive around the track is simply amazing.

"We arrived at Spa for the Test Day on the back of a hectic few weeks in which we'd tested a couple of times in addition to having had four races. It's been a tough start to the season for us both on and off the track but there is no way I'd swap places with anyone in terms of racing at Spa.

"I've done a number of 24 hour races but long distance racing was never particularly on my radar. I then contested the WillHire 24 Hours at Snetterton (GB) and that was a shock to my system. Coming in from single-seaters, I was trying to be the fastest driver on the track and quickly realized that the team was not particularly impressed as endurance racing is totally different philosophy to sprint races. I also raced in the Nurburgring 24 Hours (D) the same year. It doesn't matter where the venue is, and I've also done 24 hour races at Le Mans (F), Daytona (USA), Dubai and Mondello Park (IRL) for example, the mindset is the same for this type of race.

"I'll need to adapt my role for Spa, going from team manager/engineer in recent this year back to a driver who must stay focused for 24 hours which in itself is demanding. I can't be wearing too many hats during the race week at Spa. The Test Day earlier this month was a good exercise to ensure that Zak and I have got the various roles filled in the pit garage for the 24 hour race.

"One of the most visible things is, of course, pit-stops and everyone working together as a team but it's much more than that. In planning and preparation for the cars alone it's a different approach completely for United Autosports, which is still a fairly new team, to what we have to go through for the FIA GT3 races.

"We've had two weeks to turn the cars around since the Test Day. It's been busy back at the workshops in Leeds (GB), making component changes for the race. Then after Spa, it's rebuild time again, in readiness for the final four FIA GT3 races.

"We want to get to the finish obviously first and foremost but I'll personally be very disappointed if we don't get a car on the GT3 podium."

-source: United Autosports

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Series Endurance
Drivers Eddie Cheever , Richard Dean , Zak Brown