"These cars will be mega around Daytona and it will also be a lot of fun for Richard and I to be racing with Danny Sullivan, a very long time friend and a fantastic racer and champion," Brown said. "I heard that the debut of this event was fantastic last year so I was keen for United Autosports to attend given that the cars we're bringing over have a lot of successful Daytona history and it'll be nice for us as a team to go back there."
Sullivan, the 1985 Indianapolis 500 winner and 1988 PPG IndyCar World Series champion, made his IndyCar debut in 1982 and went on to score 17 wins in a 170-race career. He also raced for Tyrrell in the 1983 FIA Formula One Championship and finished third in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1994. Sullivan is also no stranger to Daytona International Speedway, having made 10 appearances in the Daytona 24 Hours between 1979 and 1999. In that span he recorded three top-four overall placings, including second place in 1986 and again in 1998 when he also co-drove to GT1 class honors.
"I have known Zak for a long time," Sullivan said. "He was a determined racer before finding his path and leading the industry in the marketing field. I am very much looking forward to the event with my old friend. I've never driven any of Zak's cars that he's bringing over but have raced various 962 cars a number of times. I've also driven a friend's 935 around Laguna Seca for a couple of laps, but Daytona will be the first time I've ever raced one. I'm looking forward to going back to Daytona. The entire race meet should be a great experience."
In addition to his position with United Autosports, Dean is an accomplished driver in his own right. The Englishman won the 1998 British GT Championship GT2 title and co-drove to a GT2 class victory in the 2006 24 Hours of Le Mans. He is the son of Tony Dean, well known in U.S. road racing circles as a winning competitor in the original Can-Am series in the 1970s.
"I love Daytona," Richard Dean said (at left in picture with Brown). "I first went there in 1985 with my father, Tony. Dad raced in the USA during the early 1970s and contested the Can-Am Challenge Cup, often transporting a Porsche 908/02 in a converted English bus. I competed in the Daytona 24 Hours in 1998 in a Lister Storm and in 2010 in a Porsche GT. Most recently, I was Team Manager for the United Autosports with Michael Shank Racing entry for the Rolex 24 in 2011."
The 2011 Rolex 24 At Daytona effort saw Brown, Mark Blundell, Martin Brundle and Mark Patterson driving a Riley Ford Daytona Prototype to a fourth place overall finish, a mere 3.752 seconds behind the winner and just .75 of a second from third place, a successful effort in the team's first race in North America.
United's trio of race cars for the Classic 24 Hour are equal to Sullivan's legendary status.
"The three cars we are taking will each present an amazing spectacle around the banking and I imagine will be quite a handful to drive too with that amount of horsepower," Dean said. "I well remember being at Daytona in 1985 with Dad watching these types of cars in period. Danny Sullivan joining us should be fun, he is a quality driver and a great character. I know the team will enjoy working with him and I am sure Danny will love the cars we have for him to drive."
The Porsche 962 is chassis No. 120 and won in its debut with Dyson Racing in the 1986 Six Hours of Riverside. Additional wins were earned that year at Charlotte and Sears Point with further victories at Watkins Glen the following year and in Miami in 1988. The Porsche was also co-driven to third in the 1987 24 Hours of Daytona by Rob Dyson, Price Cobb and Vern Schuppan and ninth the following year when that trio was joined by James Weaver.
The JLP-3 is regarded as the most successful of all Porsche 935s and was the first race car to ever win both the Daytona 24 and Sebring 12 Hour races overall in the same year. The Porsche was also driven to the 1982 IMSA Camel GT Championship title for the team and driver John Paul Jr. In its two-year, 26-race career, the JLP-3 scored 16 podiums, including nine victories. In addition to Paul Jr., Derek Bell, Mauricio de Narvaez, Rolf Stommelen and John Paul Sr. also raced this 935.
Another project lovingly restored by United Autosports like the two Porsches, is the Scott Pruett 1986 IMSA GTO Championship-winning 1985 Ford Mustang. Originally built for Trans-Am as a Ford Capri in December 1984, it was campaigned by Roush Protofab in 1985 by Willy T. Ribbs and then by Pruett who won the 1986 IMSA GTO Championship with the car as a Ford Mustang.
The list of current and legendary drivers confirmed for the Classic 24 now includes Jochen Mass, Bobby Rahal, Hurley Haywood, Danny Sullivan, Gijs Van Lennep, Patrick Long, Elliott Forbes-Robinson, Eric Curran, Scott Sharp, Jim Pace, Dieter Quester, Didier André, Jean Marc Gounon, Jules Gounon, Zak Brown, Richard Dean, Jeff Zwart, Shane Lewis, Jack Baldwin, Mike Skeen, Gunnar Jeanette and many more.
The equally impressive racing machines these drivers and other Classic 24 competitors will race in the Daytona event is a rolling collection of top sports cars and prototypes from the past 50 years.
The Classic 24 features six period-correct run groups rotating through a full 24 hours of racing on the 3.56-mile Daytona road course. The run groups, which include various classes of similar-era race cars, each take to the track four times throughout the 24 hours. The competitors in each class covering the most total distance in their group's four sessions will be crowned Classic 24 at Daytona champions.