Algarve Pro Racing will have a new driver line-up in the second part of the European Le Mans Series 2019.
Olivier Pla will join the team, and will be racing in #25 together with John Falb and Andrea Pizzitola. The team says goodbye to Mark Patterson, at least for now.
Patterson was unlucky to get injured at Monza in a testing accident ahead of the ELMS round on the same track. That resulted in him having to miss both the Monza race and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The results this season haven’t been too impressive anyway, primarily limited by both Patterson and Falb being Bronze rated drivers. So the team has had a really uphill struggle against the likes of G-Drive Racing, who races a Gold/Gold/Silver or Platinum/Gold/Silver combo at certain rounds.
Olivier Pla has loads of LMP2 experience. He was a test- and development driver for ONROAK for many years, both under the OAK Racing banner and later on, Ligier. APR utilizes an ORECA 07, but the Frenchman already raced that model in the ELMS 2018 at Racing Engineering.
At the ELMS opening round at Paul Ricard this year, he replaced Harry Tincknell at Carlin in their Dallara LMP2 car – all that alongside his job at Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK in the FIA WEC, plus his third driver role at Mazda Team Joest in the endurance rounds of the IMSA series.
There is no doubt that the Pla/Pizzitola combo will be very fast, and hopefully the pair can help Falb getting even faster in the car.
It won’t be long before we hear about Mark Patterson in another programme, but since the team hasn’t officially announced that, we will refrain from revealing that just yet.
First outing for the Pla/Pizzitola/Falb combination will be in three weeks’ time, when the third round of the European Le Mans Series will race at Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona in Spain.