Richard Dean returns to karting

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24 Hours of Le Mans 2009, Qualifying

Former Le Mans 24 Hours winner and Formula 3000 ace Richard Dean will return to his roots and contest club-level karting this year.

British and international GT squad United Autosports has formed a new karting team for this year dedicated to running team co-founder Zak Brown’s eight-year-old son Max in British karting.

As a side to that project both Dean, and Zak Brown have decided to buy Rotax-powered karts and contest the club-level Kent Kart Cup, which is split between Buckmore Park and Bayford Meadows. Max Brown will contest the Honda Cadet class.

Dean, who won the GT2 class of the 2006 Le Mans 24 Hours with a Team LNT-run Panoz Esperante GT-LM before co-founding United Autosports, said: “It started as just a bit of fun and a way of helping Max to get a leg-up in British karting, but things inevitably turn a bit serious when you get racing drivers involved.

“Zak decided that because he was going to be at most of the rounds with Max that he’d go buy a Tony Kart to have some fun in, and I liked the sound of it too so I got a Gillard chassis. We’ve also got trucks now and all the equipment, so it seems we’ve almost unwittingly built a full karting operation. But it is all in the name of fun.”

Dean, 50, last contested a karting campaign in British Super One when he was 18. Since then he went on to finish third in F3000 in 1995.

“I do love karting, it’s just so fun and pure,” added Dean. “We had our first race in a winter series event at Buckmore the other week and, although I got my butt kicked, I loved it. It took me back to the early days of my career. I did forget how much it hurt the next morning though!”