Twenty-four hour motor races are rarely won in the opening minutes but they can certainly be lost and that was the unfortunate case for United Autosports in the 65th edition of the legendary Total 24 Hours Of Spa this weekend (27-28 July).

#125 United Autosport, Audi R8 LMS ultra: Mark Patterson, Alain Li, Will Bratt, Glynn Geddie
#125 United Autosport, Audi R8 LMS ultra: Mark Patterson, Alain Li, Will Bratt, Glynn Geddie

Photo by: XPB Images

On only the second lap with just five minutes on the clock and with Glynn Geddie (GB) at the wheel, the Anglo-American team’s Audi R8 LMS ultra was hit hard and launched in to a spin at the La Source hairpin.

And while Geddie set competitive lap times before a scheduled pit-stop for a driver change and full service (fuel and tires), Mark Patterson (USA) pitted with almost 90mins on the clock to repair the front nose “splitter” and have the right rear upright replaced – both of which were damaged in the contact at the beginning of the race.

The 46min pit-stop for repairs effectively scuppered any chance the Audi R8 LMS ultra of Will Bratt (GB), Geddie (GB) Alain Li (F) and Patterson (USA) had of claiming a top-result in the ultra-competitive Pro-Am category.

Ultimately a rare Audi engine failure after four hours – the first United Autosports has suffered in 62 races since the team’s formation in 2010 – brought a halt to its one-off Blancpain Endurance Series appearance which marked the team’s fourth consecutive year of contesting the annual Spa race – arguably the most important and prestigious GT3 sports car race in the world.

Indeed 28 of the 65-cars contested the Pro-Am category with many featuring “factory” manufacturer drivers – plus ex-Formula One “pilots” – with teams from throughout Europe, Russia and the Ukraine such was the level of competition in the “blue ribband” event which was run in mainly warm, dry and humid conditions.

United Autosports