Anglo-American LMP2 team United Autosports will switch from Ligier to ORECA for its maiden FIA World Endurance Championship campaign, RACER has learned.
The switch, which is understood to be customer-driven, is a surprise based on the team’s longstanding loyalty to Ligier, for which it is a nominated agent tasked with selling prototypes in the UK. United’s 2019/2020 line-up of Phil Hansen, Filipe Albuquerque and Paul Di Resta are expected to run the ORECA for the first time in public at the FIA WEC Prologue in Barcelona next week.
“United Autosports will race a single-car ORECA entry in our first full FIA World Endurance Championship campaign, but will continue our relationship with Ligier Automotive for the remainder of the 2019 European Le Mans Series in both LMP2, LMP3 and the Michelin Le Mans Cup,” United co-owner Richard Dean told RACER.
“Since entering the LMP2 category in ELMS with the Ligier JS P217 three years ago, United Autosports have scored eight podiums, including four victories, combined with a third place finish at the 2018 Le Mans 24 Hours.
“Reflecting on the early races of 2019, it is clear that the ORECA 07 has had an advantage on certain circuits and, despite our loyalty to Ligier Automotive and the excellent relationship built over the years, we need to explore every opportunity available for our sponsors, partners and customers.”
The change of chassis means that the WEC’s LMP2 class for next season features seven ORECAs (with one badged as an Alpine) and a single Dallara for Italian team Cetilar Racing.