United Autosports makes its fourth pilgrimage to the mecca of US historic sportscar racing when the Anglo-American outfit takes four ultra-successful racecars to the annual Rolex Monterey Motorsports Pre- and Reunion events in California (12-21 August).
The UK-based team will field a Porsche 935 (1981), Porsche 962 (1986), Roush Protofab Mustang (1985) and Williams FW07B (1980) with United Autosports co-owners Zak Brown and Richard Dean sharing the driving duties. Over 500-cars have been invited by the organisers to compete in the 15-race groups having been accepted based on the car’s authenticity, race provenance and period correctness.
A previous double Monterey Reunion winner is the ex-Dyson Racing 1986 Porsche 962. Stefan Johansson won at Monterey in this car in 2012 while Los Angeles-born Brown, who has been attending the Reunion since 1990 and driving in the event for the past six years, took the 962 to victory himself in 2014 from pole-position.
Dean, meanwhile, steered the Porsche 962 to third place in a Pre-Reunion Group C race last year. Price Cobb (USA), Rob Dyson (USA) and James Weaver (GB) raced the 962 in the IMSA Camel GT Championship between 1986-88, the Porsche winning on its race debut in the Six Hours of Riverside in ’86 while Cobb claimed third place in the Monterey Triple Crown Camel Grand Prix at Laguna the same year. Brown started from pole, won and set the fastest race lap in class in the 962 at the Le Mans Classic in June this year.
Another project lovingly restored by United Autosports and at Monterey for a third consecutive year is the Scott Pruett 1986 IMSA GTO Championship winning 1985 Roush Protofab that was raced in both Ford “Capri” and “Mustang” guise. Pruett took this car to victory at Laguna in 1986.
The 1981 Porsche 935 “JLP-3” is regarded by many as the most successful 935. Not only is it the only car ever to win both the Daytona 24 and Sebring 12 Hour races in the same year (1982), the Porsche scored five consecutive race wins and 16 podium finishes in 26 races. Raced by John Paul Sr. and his son John Paul Jr., the 935 won the 1982 IMSA Camel GT Championship.
Marketing and sponsorship guru Brown will be aboard the 1980 Williams FW07B Cosworth DFV at the Reunion, an ex-Alan Jones chassis that never actually contested a Grand Prix in North America. However, in the eight GPs the Patrick Head designed car raced in, it won four (Spain [non-championship], France, Britain and Australia) and helped Jones claim the 1980 F1 World Championship – the first World Championship for Williams.
“I’m really excited to be returning to Monterey for the Pre-Reunion and Reunion events,” said Brown. “These two weekends are the pinnacle of historic racing and I love bringing the cars here to race round the iconic Laguna Seca track. We had a good year last year with the Lola T332 and we are hoping to replicate that success again this year.”
“The whole team loves the Monterey historic race weekends,” explained Dean. “It’s an event we always have to have on the United Autosports calendar. Driving these historic vehicles round the Laguna Seca track is a great experience. Fingers crossed we can get some good results with the four cars we have out there.”
In addition to Brown racing the Porsche 962 in the Le Mans Classic, he conducted parade laps at the Silverstone Classic in a 2001 McLaren MP4-16A, a former British Grand Prix winning machine in the hands of Mika Häkkinen.
The Rolex Monterey week gets underway on Friday (12th of August) with the Monterey Race Car Classic in downtown Monterey. Approximately 30 race cars from among 300-plus cars competing in the Monterey Pre-Reunion (18th to the 19th of Aug) leave the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca under full California Highway Patrol escort to Alvarado Street for a two-hour festive show.
The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, along with the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, shifts into gear on Thursday 18 August with each race group on track. Practice and qualifying sessions for all 15-race groups continue on Friday in 20-minute sessions. On Saturday and Sunday (20th and 21st of Aug), the 15-groups are divided into A and B sessions. The A groups have two races on Saturday, while the B groups have two races Sunday.