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Bri­tish GT ace Matt Bell will move into the Euro­pean Le Mans Se­ries this year to spear­head United Au­tosports’ as­sault on the LMP3 cat­e­gory.

Bell will be re­united with his for­mer driv­ing part­ner Mark Patterson to cam­paign the An­glo-amer­i­can squad’s new Nis­san-pow­ered Ligier JS P3 in the full ELMS. Bell and Patterson last raced to­gether full-time in Bri­tish GT in 2013, when they nar­rowly missed the ti­tle.

The pair will be joined by an as-yetun­named third driver, who will be sil­ver-graded to match Bell’s gold and Patterson’s bronze sta­tus.

“It’s great to be back with United Au­tosports and Mark,” said the 26-yearold from New­cas­tle, the younger brother of Le Mans racer Rob Bell. “I started my ca­reer with the team in 2010 and we’ve had some great sea­sons to­gether. I took UA’S maiden podium and their maiden win so I just need to win their first cham­pi­onship and I can com­plete the set!

“This will be my first foray into pro­to­type rac­ing and I’m ex­cited to get my hands on a new type of car. Mark al­ready has plenty of ex­pe­ri­ence in pro­to­types [through rac­ing in the Day­tona 24 Hours] so I hope his knowl­edge can help to fast-track my learn­ing curve.”

United Au­tosports man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Richard Dean added that the search for the cor­rectly graded third driver was still un­der­way: “Mark and Matt are an in­cred­i­ble pair­ing. We are sort­ing through a list of ex­cep­tional driv­ers to se­lect the right sil­ver-graded driver to en­sure we have the strong­est pos­si­ble LMP3 line-up.”

United Au­tosports will field Ligier LMP3 Matt Bell (left) last part­nered with Patterson full-time in 2013 Bri­tish GT Van­doorne will race in 2016

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