With three months to go before the 2010 Avon Tyres British GT Championship blasts off, the touchpaper has been lit by the new United Autosports team and its plans to field a brace of factory assisted Audi R8 LMS racers in Easter Monday's opening rounds of the series, as well as extra events during the season.
The Anglo-American team's exciting news has been revealed by United Autosports' co-owner and managing director, Richard Dean, who believes the Oulton Park rounds of the UK's most prestigious sports car series will provide an ideal test-bed for his new team and its German chargers.
"Our plans for 2010 centre on the FIA GT3 European Championship, and Oulton Park will be an ideal warm-up event for us," said Dean. "The competition in British GT is always fierce and Oulton is the sort of demanding circuit that will provide the ideal test for United Autosports' maiden outing. Hopefully we will be able to slot further British GT meetings into our schedule over the course of the year."
On the driving strength will be team co-owner Zak Brown, an experienced sports car hand and chief executive of the world's largest motorsport marketing agency, Just Marketing International. Another of the team's four seats will be filled by Argentine ace Pablo Perez Companc, a former South American F3 Champion and Ferrari sports car racer.
The Audi R8 LMS was a star of FIA GT3 in 2009, Phoenix Racing drivers Christopher Haase and Christopher Mies clinching the drivers' championship thanks to their R8's three race victories and several additional podium finishes.
"The Audi proved itself as a major contender in Europe last season and we have every reason to believe that it will be a race winner again in 2010," Dean continued. "United Autosports may have a very American flavour but the team is Yorkshire based and it will be great for a British-based team to give the Audi its maiden outing in the British GT Championship."
Among the opposition planning to line up at Oulton to give the Audis a run for their money will be the race-winning MTECH team with its Duncan Cameron/Matt Griffin Ferrari 430 Scuderia, and two Ferrari 430 Scuderias from Chad Racing.
Several other new and established teams are planning major post-Christmas announcements of their plans for the coming season.
"British GT, with GT3, GTC and GT4/Supersport, is looking very healthy for 2010," concluded the new Avon Tyres British GT Championship manager Benjamin Franasovicci, "and Oulton Park is going to be all the more exciting for the arrival on the grid of the United Autosports Audis."