CHANGES AFOOT: The U-100 Leland Unlimited racing team recently hired Dave Warren (below), a veteran of the Grand Prix West series, as its newest driver. Warren will be the team’s fourth driver in the past seven races. The team is also currently getting its back-up hull, nicknamed “Big Red” (above), ready to run in place of the primary hull which flipped at back-to-back races. (Courier file photo by David Campbell, above, and H1 Unlimited photo, below)
CHANGES AFOOT: The U-100 Leland Unlimited racing team recently hired Dave Warren (below), a veteran of the Grand Prix West series, as its newest driver. Warren will be the team’s fourth driver in the past seven races. The team is also currently getting its back-up hull, nicknamed “Big Red” (above), ready to run in place of the primary hull which flipped at back-to-back races. (Courier file photo by David Campbell, above, and H1 Unlimited photo, below)
Dave Warren, a current driver on the Grand Prix West series, has been named driver for the U-100 Leland Unlimited hydroplane team, the team announced on Monday.

Warren, who has driven a GP for the past nine years, is the fourth driver the team has employed in the past seven races and the third to hold the seat "full-time."

The Lake Stevens, Wash. native got his start working for the Region 10 rescue team, working safety and rescue at both the Tri-Cities and Seattle races for 11 years.

In 2002, Warren helped an Unlimited Lights team in the pits at one race and the following year, joined the grew of the UL-929 team.

The following year, Warren took over crew chief duties and eventually got a chance to drive the boat in several test sessions. He later purchased the silver and green GP-329 and began competing on the Grand Prix West circuit.

After two seasons of driving the GP-60 for owner Gordy Gilmer, Warren spent the past two seasons helming the GP-19 of owner Tom Eckenberg.

The Leland team has had its share of upheaval in the past 15 months. Team founder Fred Leland passed away before the start of last season and long-time driver Greg Hopp, who had been with the team since 1999, was fired just after the race in San Diego last September.

Rookie Ryan Mallow replaced Hopp at the wheel and drove the U-100 at both races in Doha, Qatar earlier this year and at Sacramento. In the first heat at the APBA Gold Cup in Detroit last month, Mallow was involved in a spectacular crash in front of the Detroit Yacht Club but he escaped injury.

Mallow's tenure with the team lasted just two more weeks. After competing in the first preliminary heat at Tri-Cities, Mallow abruptly quit forcing the team to scramble to find a replacement just before the start of the second heat. That ended poorly when Mallow's replacement, Kelly Stocklin, also flipped in the boat in just his second heat of competition.

As a result of the two accidents, the Leland team has switched to a second hull, the boat nicknamed "Big Red" that race as the U-100 the last two years. The team skipped the Seattle race while it got the boat ready.

Warren will make his Unlimited debut at the next race on the H1 Unlimited series, the Diamond Cup in Coeur d'Alene, Id. on Labor Day Weekend.