PEARCE CHASING VICTORIES IN SECOND HALF OF 2005
Patrick Pearce has had a superb start to his first year with the LNT TVR sportscar squad -- fighting for race wins and taking podium finishes in international and domestic events. Yet racing drivers are never satisfied unless they are winning, and Pearce is no exception. He's content with his season so far, but is expecting more from the second half of 2005.
"Personally, I think we're not doing quite as well as I had anticipated before the start of the season," he said. "I knew the car would be very quick, but we have had a few reliability problems that we didn't expect.
"Now we've got a lot of development parts coming on line in the next few races that we didn't have time to work on earlier in the season.
"Winning the British GT championship is pretty much out of the question now, but second place is certainly on the cards. We'd really like to get a race win soon as well. The TVR has always gone well around Castle Combe, where we're racing next weekend, so hopefully we should have a good race there."
Although Pearce has suffered some disappointments so far in 2005, his first year with LNT has also brought some tremendous highs. He was the star of the first British GT round at Donington Park, charging through the field to second place on a treacherously oily track. Patrick then took second place in the GT class at the legendary Spa-Francorchamps track in Belgium in the Le Mans Endurance Series season opener, before returning to the UK and coming very close to victory in the British GT race at Thruxton. He has proved just as fast as his highly-rated team-mates Jonny Kane and Warren Hughes -- both tipped for Formula One in the 1990s -- and is edging closer and closer to the British GT championship leading Ferrari all the time.
"We're not quite on the pace of the Ferrari, but we were fast enough to beat them in the wet at Spa," said Patrick. "We just need to work a little bit more to be able to race against them in all conditions."
A year ago, the LNT team didn't even exist, but Laurence Tomlinson's brand new squad is already regarded as one of Britain's top sportscar teams. Pearce is hoping to stay on board as LNT progresses through the sportscar ranks.
"Although we haven't really talked about the future yet, I'd really like to stay with LNT," he said. "It's a great team and I feel very comfortable there."
Pearce expected to spend last weekend achieving his lifelong dream of racing in the world famous Le Mans 24 Hours, but instead he was busy testing in England. The Le Mans organisers only allow 48 cars to compete in the event, selecting the entrants on the basis of their pedigree, and the number of Le Mans-affiliated races they have competed in. Pearce and LNT thought that they fitted the bill, so were disappointed not to get an entry this year.
"It was a big surprise," Patrick admitted. "We had raced in the Sebring 12 Hours (part of the American Le Mans series), and the TVR had been good at Le Mans before, so we were sure they would be interested in us.
"But in a way it was a blessing in disguise, as we've got so much on our plate at the moment with the British GT series and the LMES. Missing Le Mans has given us chance to do some extra testing, and that will help to get the car right for the next LMES race at Monza. If we win the GT class in the LMES championship then we definitely get an entry for next year's race, so that's what we're aiming for now."