WILL OWEN FINISHES 4TH AT ROOKIE DEBUT OF THE HISTORIC 24 HOURS OF LE MANS
Le Mans, France – June 21st, 2017 – Will Owen surpassed many milestones at his first ever 24 Hours of Le Mans after finishing fourth and claiming the best finish by an American in the this past weekend’s 85th running of one most historic races in the world of motorsport.
Owen, along with teammates Filipe Albuquerque and Hugo de Sadeleer, took the #32 LIgier JS P217 of United Autosports to the famous 15 kilometer Circuit de la Sarthe for the first official practice session of the weekend in perfect weather conditions. The American team initially struggled for speed against the Oreca chassis, but made progress with their race set up in order to make things as smooth as possible for rookies, Owen and Sadeleer. Qualifying was put on the shoulders of Portuguese veteran, Albuquerque, whose fastest lap put the team 15th on the grid for the race start.
The start was generally uneventful, but United Autosports held decent pace amongst the crowd of sixty entrants. The fight for reliability was in the favor of Owen and his team over the course of 24 hours as they slowly gained positions throughout the night. In the last four hours, Owen and his teammates had moved from their start position of 15th, and found themselves battling for fourth and fifth. Being mistake and problem free is almost unheard of in this grueling race, but for Owen and his #32 car, it all paid off as they flew across the finish line in fifth place. After the #13 car of Rebellion Racing was disqualified for a pit stop violation, United Autosports officially claimed the fouth place finish amongst the LMP2 field, and fifth overall. The result left Owen the best American finisher and the #352car was the best finishing Ligier JS P217 of the 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Next up for the 21 year-old will be returning to the 2017 European Le Mans Sportscar Championship schedule with Albuquerque and Sadeleer for the third round of the season in Austria at the Red Bull Ring on July 21st, 2017. The American team of United Autosports currently sits in second place with 33 points.
DRIVER: Will Owen
“I have a lot of feelings about the race, but as far as the result – I’m very happy. I’m very proud of the team and I’m thankful for all the work they put into everything. All the guys worked so hard through the entire night and the weeks of preparation before arriving to the race. The team worked flawlessly with great pit stops and a good set up for the car, which was great to drive all day.
We came into this event without too many expectations and thinking maybe we would get in the top ten, maybe a little better, but finishing in the top five is pretty awesome. As far as how I feel about my own driving, I’m pretty happy and I learned so much. This is a really tough race for a rookie to go into and no matter what you do to prepare, I learned that you could just never be completely ready for it. It was tough at some points, and some parts I had a really good handle on, but ultimately there’s just never enough you can do to prepare for Le Mans. I made some mistakes, one in particular at the end, but it went over ok with the team, which I’m grateful for.
Overall, I have a great impression of everything and I’m just so thankful to have been apart of this event that is so big with so many people. It’s one of the biggest sporting events in the world, so being able to participate was very special.”