Zak Brown is an American businessman, owner of the racing team and a former racing driver who participated in numerous championships between 1991 and 2016. Brown is currently the Executive Director of McLaren Technology Group and owner of United Autosports racing team. More then twenty years ago, in 1995, he founded the Just Marketing International (JMI), which became the world's largest motorsport marketing agency.
Successful karting career before moving to Europe
Born in November 1971 in Los Angeles, Zak Brown started his racing career in karting competitions in 1986. He won many races until 1990, and then he moved to Europe to compete in the British Formula Ford 1600 from 1991. In the following years, he contested in the British Opel Lotus Series and Benelux Opel Lotus Series.
Variety of racing series during the 1990s
In 1994, Brown was racing on both sides of Atlantic, participating in the Benelux Opel Lotus Series and British Formula 3 Championship in Europe but also in the Toyota Atlantic Series in North America. In 1995, Brown made a debut in the Indy Lights Series, participating in season's finale at Laguna Seca. Next year, he made a one-off appearance in the German Formula 3 and then, in 1997, he switched to sports car racing.
Zak Brown scored Daytona and Sebring podiums in the #03 Roock Racing Porsche
1997 - class podiums at Daytona 24h and Sebring 12h
In February 1997, Brown made a debut at Daytona 24 Hours, joining two teams in their Porsches. He was driving for Team A.R.E. in the GTS-3 class and for Roock Racing in the GTS-2 class. He, Philippe de Craene, Dirk Layer and Michel Ligonnet finished second in the GTS-2 class.
In March, Brown was again on a podium, finishing second in the GTS-2 class at Sebring 12 Hours. He was sharing the #03 Roock Racing Porsche 911 GT2 with Dirk Layer, Michel Ligonnet and Claudia Hurtgen.
In October 1997, Brown joined Chamberlain Engineering in Sebring's round of the FIA GT Championship, driving a Chrysler Viper GTS-R. In 1998, he was driving Porsche 911 GT2 in two North American FIA GT rounds for Elf Haberthur Racing.
Two ALMS seasons with Porsche
In 1999, Brown spent a season in the #83 Porsche 911 GT2, driving for Chiefie Motorsport in the American Le Mans Series. Sharing a car with different co-drivers, he scored no wins or podiums.
In 2000, Brown rejoined Roock Racing to driver Porsche 911 GT2 at Daytona 24h and in the American Le Mans Series. For most of the season, his partner in the #08 Porsche was Vic Rice. Brown scored four podiums to finish 7th in the GTS class standings.
Zak Brown took a break from racing between 2001 and 2005
2001 – 2005: Five years for business only
After a successful ALMS season, Brown took a rest from racing in 2001, concentrating on leading his company Just Marketing International. He was out of racing for five seasons, returning to a cockpit of a race car in 2006, participating in Britcar Silverstone 24 Hours race.
In 2007, Brown entered the American edition of the Ferrari Challenge Series. He stayed in that competitions until 2009, scoring good results and few victories.
Zak Brown dedicated his life to racing
Founding United Autosports team in 2009
In 2009, Zak Brown and British racer Richard Dean co-founded the United Autosports racing team. The team has its base in Garforth, West Yorkshire.
The first competition for the team was the 2010 FIA GT3 European Championship with two Audi R8 LMS cars. Zak Brown was driving one of two Audis, sharing a car with Matt Bell. Scoring one podium, they finished 21st in the points. The team was 12th in the standings.
Zak Brown scored lots of success with United Autosports as an owner and as a driver
Sharing a drive with superstars
At 2010 Spa 24 Hours, Zak Brown and Richard Dean were together in a car, together with Mark Blundell and Eddie Cheever.
In January 2011, United Autosports partnered with Michael Shank Racing to run the #23 Riley-Ford prototype at Daytona 24 Hours. The drivers were Zak Brown, Mark Patterson, Mark Blundell and Martin Brundle. They finished 4th in the DP class.
At 2011 Spa 24 Hours, Brown again hired many stars to drive for his team: Mark Blundell, Eddie Cheever, Arie Luyendyk, Johnny Herbert and Stefan Johansson. Brown himself was driving the #23 Audi with Richard Dean, Johnny Herbert and Stefan Johansson, finishing in 13th place.
Switching to McLaren in 2012
In 2012, the United Autosports raced in the Blancpain Endurance Series and British GT Championship. Brown was participating in selected races, driving a McLaren MP4-12C.
In BES races, he was sharing a car with Mark Patterson and Mark Blundell. In his only British GT starts, Brown was a winner at Donington Park, sharing a car with Alvaro Parente. In 2013, Brown expanded his activities in the British GT Championship, participating in five rounds in a McLaren.
Zak Brown is leading McLaren Technology Group
Participating in historic racing since 2014
The season 2013 was the last full season for Brown, since 2014 he focused more on business and participated only in historic racing events, such are Grand Prix de Monaco Historique, Le Mans Legends race or Group C Racing Championship.
In November 2016, Brown was announced as the new executive director of McLaren Technology Group as a replacement for Ron Dennis.