Spa 24H: United Autosports - Mark Patterson preview

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Mark Patterson (USA). Age:58. Born: Port Elizabeth, S Africa. Lives: Bronxville, N.Y., USA Spa 24Hr: 2009 17th o/a (Ferrari 430 GT3). Spa History: Debut 2001. Lamborghini Super Trophy (2001). Last race at Spa 2009 (24hrs). Other 24Hr races:...

Mark Patterson (USA). Age:58. Born: Port Elizabeth, S Africa. Lives: Bronxville, N.Y., USA

Spa 24Hr: 2009 17th o/a (Ferrari 430 GT3). Spa History: Debut 2001. Lamborghini Super Trophy (2001). Last race at Spa 2009 (24hrs). Other 24Hr races: Daytona (2004 38th/13th, 2005 23rd/14th, 2006/2nd, 2007/9th, 2008/6th, 2009/41st, 2010/7th)

Shares #67 Cerutti / FXDD / Robert Dubuis Watches / Road & Track / Legends of Motorsports / LG Electronics Audi R8 LMS with Emil Assentato (USA), Stefan Johansson (Sw) and Alain Li (F):

"I started racing six years ago in the single-seater Skip Barber Series in the States and Formula One quickly grabbed my attention so I immediately became aware of the majestic Spa circuit in Belgium. It then became my ambition to race there and I fulfilled that ambition just last year in the corresponding race.

"All 24 Hour races are a challenge both physically and mentally. Having raced at the 24 Hours of Daytona on seven occasions and then at Spa last year, in my opinion the mental factor is taken up several notches. The Spa track features many fantastic corners which are a huge challenge which taxes the driver -- I think every track designer needs to physically drive the Spa circuit before he puts pen to paper.

"The Audi features various ABS and ASC settings that a driver can choose from in the cockpit. This combination for brakes and traction control will reduce the pressure slightly but fundamentally when you know there is the likelihood of changeable weather conditions effecting the race, either totally or partially around the track and in different forms of severity, you must always be 100% focused.

"There are the old, established parts of the track combined these days with the new sections with the 'older' sections offering the biggest challenge -- beautiful, technical sweeping elements that I can't wait to sample in the Audi. I'm sure that the R8 LMS will be well-suited to Spa -- indeed one finished third overall in the corresponding race last year.

"In last year's Spa race Jacques Villeneuve was caught out in one of those customary heavy showers at the final sweeping corner as we approached the 'bus-stop' chicane. I was following Jacques, visibility was very poor as the rain thrashed down, and we were both on slick, non-treaded tires needing to pit. It was really precarious to keep control but unfortunately for the Canadian, he lost it big time. You can never under estimate how tricky Spa can be -- especially in those conditions."

-source: unitedautosports.com

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