Phil Hanson eagerly looking forward to more US races

Phil Hanson is already looking forward to making a speedy return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in March after experiencing heartache on his Rolex 24 At Daytona début this weekend (27-28 Jan).

The 2016-17 Asian Le Mans Series LMP3 champion, competing in his first race for the Anglo-American United Autosports team, plus fellow 18-year-old Lando Norris and double former F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso, recorded an unrepresentative 13th in class in their United Autosports Ligier JS P217 sports-prototype in the twice-around-the-clock event in Florida.

The trio clocked-up 718-laps, over 2,500-miles, having looked set for a top-five if not a rostrum finish before delays caused by minor but time-consuming problems.

But Phil, who drove for a total of almost six hours in four separate stints around the demanding 3.6-mile Daytona International Speedway, will now compete in the three remaining Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup events in addition to his already announced six-race ELMS and Le Mans 24 Hour race programme with United.

Indeed, Hanson returns to Florida for the Sebring 12 Hours (17 Mar) before his European campaign gets underway at Paul Ricard (F) in April. The other two prestigious U.S. races are at Watkins Glen (1 Jul) then the Petit Le Mans (13 Oct).

As early as hour four Phil’s Ligier was placed second and remained in the top-six until one-third distance. Hanson took over from the starting Alonso two hours into the race yesterday afternoon and was back in the Ligier just gone 9pm. But just after 10pm last night, his #23 Ligier suffered a right, rear puncture and after a pit-stop for new bodywork, Alonso resuming 11th but over three laps down on the leader.

The former double F1 world champion had recovered to sixth but at 1am suffered a brake problem necessitating a 40mins stop for repairs. Phil impressed with another spell of night driving from 4am but later this morning, a further 10mins were lost due to a throttle sensor issue, before Hanson jumped back into the Ligier just after 10am this morning prior to the Ligier suffering further braking issues.

Hanson can count himself unlucky not to have registered a podium result on his United and Rolex 24 début.


Oct 6
Learning I’ve scored my maiden @FIAWEC podium! #22 @UnitedAutosport @Oreca Moved up a place after post race scrutineering so officially P3. Thx @AlbuquerqueFil & @ollyjarvis but want to actually stand on the podium in China. @BRDCSuperStars
Oct 6
@FIAWEC P4 #6hFuji not what we wanted but will take it after electrical issues. 2nd, pressuring leader but engine cut out. Happened to @ollyjarvis & @AlbuquerqueFil too. @UnitedAutosport will work hard to find out what went wrong ready to push in China. Onwards and upward
Oct 6
@FIAWEC Moved up to P2 but almost immediately lost power, dropped to P5 @ollyjarvis takes over, inters gamble doesn’t pay off, back in for slicks, P5. But 2hr 30min remain. Never give up. @UnitedAutosport
Oct 5
Our #22 @Oreca starts #6hFuji P2 tomoz. @AlbuquerqueFil and I did our best and fantastic job by @UnitedAutosport who have worked hard for us to find a good set-up around @fswpress Fastest @Michelin_Sport LMP2. 2nd successive @FIAWEC class front row @gibsontech1 @BRDCSuperStars
Oct 5
@FIAWEC Ambient and track temps much higher, wind direction has changed as has air density so we need to dial #22 into something bit different for quali. Will it work? Let’s wait and see but @AlbuquerqueFil and I will be giving it our all @UnitedAutosport
Oct 5
@FIAWEC Pretty happy with balance of #22 @Oreca on my opening run in FP3. Seems like we have nice, compliant Racecar for #6HFuji tomoz. P5 in session. Quali up later @UnitedAutosport @gibsontech1 @BRDCSuperStars