ADOPTED SOUTH AUSTRALIAN driver Garnet Patterson will put his local knowledge to use when the Asian Le Mans Series makes its debut at The Bend Motorsport Park in South Australia next January.
Patterson will link with experienced outfit ARC Bratislava for the 4 Hours of The Bend, tackling the return of International Motorsport to South Australia.
The trio will race a Ligier JS P2 in the LMP2-Am class, the ARC Bratislava team the defending Asian Le Mans champions in the class.
26-year-old Patterson is originally from New South Wales but now calls Richmond, in Adelaide, home and spends much of his time at The Bend as one of the senior driver coaches at the circuit. Most significantly, he’s one of only a few people to have driven the highly challenging 7.77-kilometre GT circuit to be used for the Asian Le Mans Series race next year.
“I’m hopeful that local knowledge will give us an advantage compared to a majority of the Asian Le Mans Series field,” Patterson said.
“Adelaide has become my adopted home and it’s a great place to be. I spend most of my time at The Bend and have got plenty of laps on the 7.7-km circuit we’ll be racing on in January. It’s a massive challenge and very difficult to learn so hopefully I can give our team a head start. The track is going to be very exciting and it’s going to be really quick too. It’s really challenging around the back of the circuit and it will be interesting to see how people learn the layout.”
“At these events there’s limited practice so track knowledge will be really important. I’m really thankful to (team owner) Miro for the opportunity.”
Patterson has built an extensive CV racing around the world in the last five years, following a local junior career that included victory in the 2014 Australian Formula 3 National class. Despite that, the 4 Hours of The Bend will mark his first race in this style of car on local soil.
“It’s pretty exciting to be able to drive these cars in Australia after racing them for so long overseas,” he said.
“It’s very cool to be part of the return of international Sports Car racing to Australia and especially Adelaide, 20 years after the last time cars like that raced here. The cars are going to be the fastest things we’ve ever seen at The Bend and there’s great diversity in the field. I think it will be a great show.
“We’re racing in the LMP2 Am category, which has older model cars compared to latest generation LMP2s. They’re a bit slower but they are something where the driver can make a difference and I’m really happy ARC Bratislava has given me the chance to drive with them at The Bend.”
Now firmly established in Adelaide, Patterson is well accustomed to the local conditions that teams will face when they arrive at The Bend for the 12 January 2020 race.
Hot conditions are expected for the race, which will start in the early afternoon and run across the hottest part of the day. That, combined with the track, is something Patterson believes will be one of the biggest challenges facing teams next January.
“It’s going to be hard on the cars and the drivers and I hope that gives me an advantage. You have to prepare for it and be as fit as you can be, but majority of the drivers will be coming from the European Winter to the middle of our summer so it’s going to hit them.”
After qualifying on pole for the opening round of the Asian Le Mans Series race in Shanghai, China, the ARC Bratislava team failed to finish the race – placing an emphasis on winning in the remaining three rounds, including The Bend.
“For us, the main aim is to win our class, get the points and help the team get their ticket to Le Mans next year – that’s the aim.” Patterson confirmed.
Click Here for more information about the return of International Sports Car racing to South Australia.