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United Autosports confirms de Sadeleer, MRTI grad Owen for Le Mans/ELMS

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BIRMINGHAM, UK – United Autosports has confirmed two of its drivers ahead of its first appearance at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June in the LMP2 class.

United Autosports won the LMP3 championship in the European Le Mans Series last year, securing itself a berth for Le Mans in the process.

The Anglo-American team announced two of its three drivers for Le Mans at Autosport International on Thursday, with Mazda Road to Indy racer Will Owen and Formula Renault’s Huge de Sadeleer set to feature for its debut at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

Owen finished fourth in the Pro Mazda series in 2016 with Juncos Racing, but will now turn his attention to sports car racing as part of United Autosports’ Le Mans and full-season ELMS line-up.

“Part of it was going to Le Mans in 2016. That was life-changing, honestly, it was so cool,” Owen told NBC Sports when asked about his decision to cross codes.

“The other thing was I feel like there are so many opportunities to become part of a manufacturer effort in sports cars. I decided to go that way because there are so many great places to go and series to run and cool cars to drive.

“I think I went there because of the options, that’s the biggest thing. We looked at a lot of things but eventually we looked at prototypes and after I drove it, I was like ‘man, this is what I want to do’. I’m so excited that we landed with United Autosports.”

Owen said racing on the Mazda Road to Indy ladder for the past three years – including one season in USF2000 championship and the last two in Pro Mazda – has prepared him well for life in endurance racing.

“If you look at me before and after Mazda Road to Indy, I’m a completely different driver and a completely different person,” Owen said.

“The series has helped me develop because of the intense competition. When you come here and you’ve done the deal where it’s been down to hundredths in qualifying, you’re well prepared.”

Owen and de Sadeleer are poised to be joined by Alex Brundle for Le Mans and the ELMS season, the Briton having won the LMP3 title with United Autosports last year.

“We know who we want, we’re just working on getting some economics together so we can go there and compete at the front,” United Autosports team owner Zak Brown told NBC Sports.

United Autosports will field a Ligier LMP2 car for the ELMS season and Le Mans, with the livery being unveiled on Thursday as part of the announcement.

MRTI: Juncos signs Carlos Cunha for Pro Mazda campaign

Photo: Juncos Racing
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Juncos Racing continued to bolster its entries in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires by signing Carlos Cunha to pilot a third Juncos Pro Mazda entry for 2018. Cunha, who finished third in the 2017 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda season on the back of seven podium finishes, joins Rinus VeeKay and Robert Megennis in Juncos’ Pro Mazda lineup for 2018.

Cunha previously tested with the team at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in October and joined Juncos for the Chris Griffis Memorial test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in November, testing cars for both the Pro Mazda and Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires teams.

“It’s great to become a part of Juncos Racing,” said the 18-year-old Cunha. “I am really excited to start the 2018 season with Juncos Racing. This fall we did some testing together and from there I was able to see how focused everyone on the team is and I even felt like I became a part of their family in no time. I am confident we will get great results together next year and I look forward to learning and growing more with the team. It will be a huge pleasure and also a great responsibility to carry the number one on my car, thanks to (2017 Pro Mazda champion Victor Franzoni) and I hope to deliver it back to the team at the end of the year!”

Team owner Ricardo Juncos added, “We are excited to add Carlos to our Pro Mazda lineup. From the moment we started testing with him in early October, we knew he would be a great fit for our team. Carlos has been very quick in testing and even had an impressive showing in the Indy Lights car at the Chris Griffis test back in October. He had a great run this past season in the Pro Mazda series and we are confident he will carry that momentum into the 2018 season.”

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