Young British sports car prospect Joe Osborne has joined the Anglo-American United Autosports team for a full FIA GT3 European Championship campaign with the Audi R8 LMS team next year.
Osborne, aged 21, embarks on his first full GT3 season next May after sporadic outings in British GT4 and FIA GT3 Euro this year. He will co-drive an Audi R8 LMS with Mark Patterson, the American who tied equal second with 2010 United Autosports co-driver Michael Guasch (USA) in the FIA championship's Audi Manufacturer's Cup.
Meanwhile United Autosports' American chairman and co-owner Zak Brown continues for a second consecutive year driving team's sister Audi with Matthew Bell, the Briton who celebrated his 21st birthday last month.
“It's great to have Joe joining us which completes what I believe will be a very competitive two-car lineup for us in the European series," said Brown. "Both cars have good driver combos and I'm expecting both to be fighting for podium placings. We've just finished what has been a fantastic debut year and all credit goes to Richard and the team he's built. We had a very tough start to the 2010 season but it was amazing how quickly we improved and, by midyear, we were leading races and routinely on the podium. Race wins are just right around the corner.”
Osborne won the 2004 British Junior Kart TKM Championship before moving in to single-seaters courtesy of a scholarship from Formula BMW UK but budget constraints obliged Joe to switch his attention to sports cars, winning the European GT4 Championship last year. A British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) Rising Star in 2009, he made his FIA GT3 European Championship debut this year, contesting three rounds and recording two top-five finishes (Silverstone & Jarama) in a Porsche 911 GT3R.
United Autosports has already announced a two-car Audi entry in the 2011 British GT Championship with Bell and Guasch linking up with Audi's former British Touring Car Championship race winner John Bintcliffe co-driving with fellow Yorkshireman Jay Palmer. Draper Tools will be a team partner for both the FIA and BGT campaigns.