To Close Partial GRAND-AM Season In StyleUnited Autosports with Michael Shank Racing #23 Ford-Riley lines-up for fourth GA race of the year
Mark Blundell (GB) and Zak Brown (USA) contest the final round of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 race aiming for a top-five finish.Brown and Blundell pilot the United Autosports with Michael Shank Racing #23 Ford-Riley in the EMCO Gears Classic series finale staged at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Saturday (September 17).The United Autosports entry has previously recorded a fourth (Rolex 24 at Daytona), sixth (Grand Prix of Miami) and ninth (Canadian Tire 200 At The Glen) in what is the Anglo-American team’s maiden foray in GRAND-AM.United Autosports is placed 12th in the Teams’ standings with Blundell and Brown 16th & 18th in the Drivers’ championship respectively despite contesting less than 25% or the calendar.The 2.258-mile, 13-turn Mid-Ohio road course holds a special place for Michael Shank Racing as the track is the site of the team’s original formation. In last year’s corresponding race, MSR finished second and fourth having led 14 laps.Provisional Timetable:
Friday September 16 – 1115-1145 Practice; 1430-1500 Practice; 1645-1700 QualifyingSaturday September 17 – 0840-0910 Practice; 1500-1745 Race* All times are “local”#23 – Riley-Ford
Mark Blundell (GB). Age: 45. Born: Barnet, England. Lives: Royston, England:“I’ve raced Champcar at Mid-Ohio on five previous occasions. It’s a complex track and very physical. Zak and I had a productive test there last month and were happy with our performance but know there is more to find. Qualifying will be vital in terms of getting a good race result. Watkins Glen was a tough weekend but gave us a better understanding of both the car and tires for this race. I would love for Zak and I to record a top-five finish to round off our GRAND-AM season.”
Zak Brown (USA). Age: 39. Born: Los Angeles, California, USA. Lives: Carmel, Indiana, USA:
“I’ve only previously raced at Mid-Ohio on one occasion, back in 1998 in Toyota Atlantics. It’s a challenging track with few overtaking opportunities. I’ve tested the #23 Riley-Ford twice at the circuit in the last month which makes me think we'll have a better race at Mid-Ohio compared to Watkins Glen. My aim is to finish off the season with a top-five.”Mike Shank (USA), Team Owner of Michael Shank Racing:“We are very excited to get back to Mid-Ohio and to have two cars including the #23 Riley-Ford in United colors for the finale. We almost won it there last year and finished really well with both cars. We’ve tested at Mid-Ohio and I think we are in good shape with both cars so I’m very optimistic about the weekend.”
United AutosportsCo-owned by Zak Brown and Richard Dean, the US-owned, UK-based team was formed in late 2009 and contested the 2010 FIA GT3 European Championship with a brace of Audi R8 LMS sports cars. Also competed in 24 Hours of Spa (finishing third & fourth in GT3 class on team’s 24 race début), Intercontinental Le Mans Cup at Zhuhai, China (third in GTC) and Macau (third GT Cup). Competes in the 2011 FIA GT3 European and Avon Tyres British GT Championships plus 24 Hours of Spa and Macau.Michael Shank RacingSince moving full-time to the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series, Pataskala, Ohio-based Michael Shank Racing has taken three overall wins and 19 podium results, including second overall in the 2006 Rolex 24 At Daytona as well as monopolizing the front row for the 2008 Rolex 24.