Zak Brown is hopeful of seeing his United Autosports team record a top-five finish in this weekend's Rolex 24 at Daytona as its all-star line-up gears up for the first sports car classic of the year.

McLaren executive director Brown is also the co-owner of United Autosports, which will field two cars at Daytona with two-time Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso acting as part of its line-up that also includes Bruno Senna, Lando Norris and Paul di Resta.

Despite boasting one of the most impressive driver rosters in recent Daytona memory, United Autosports faces an uphill struggle to fight at the front due to its chassis deficiency, with Alonso finishing 12th in the opening qualifying session earlier this month.

Brown is keeping his expectations in check for the race, but said that a top-five finish would go down as a successful result for the Anglo-American team.

"We’re heading to Daytona aiming for a top-five race finish," Brown said. "It’s a long and very hard race with a quality 50-car entry. Most teams have many years of Rolex and Daytona race experience to help them.

"We’ll need everything aligned to achieve that kind of result and while we’ve quickly achieved success in Europe, Richard and I are under no illusion it’s going to be a very tough weekend.

"But that’s what all of us at United thrive on and we’re all very excited to be racing in the Rolex at the weekend."

Brown's fellow co-owner, Richard Dean, added: "“I’m excited to be starting our 2018 programme off at Daytona. The Rolex 24 comes very early in the season but I am extremely optimistic for the weekend.

"We have an incredibly strong driver line-up in what looks likely to be one of the most fiercely competitive and contested Daytona 24 Hour races in recent history. So it’s hugely exciting for United Autosports to be a part of this great, famous historic event again having partnered with Mike [Shank] in 2011 when we finished fourth."

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