David Cheng and Mark Patterson who drove together in China will be backed up by Keiko Ihara.
The OAK Racing-entered no. 35 Morgan-Judd LM P2 is having its third outing in the 2014 FIA WEC in the Bahrain 6 Hours. After its fantastic top-3 finish in LM P2 at Fuji followed by the slight disappointment in Shanghai, the Le Mans team is back with its motivation at 100% for its final outing.
David Cheng and Mark Patterson who drove together in China will be backed up by Keiko Ihara. She is making her return to the no. 35 Onroak Automotive sports prototype after her finish on the third step of the podium with the team in Japan.
Last year David Cheng and Keiko Ihara shared a Morgan LM P2 in Bahrain where they finished fifth in LM P2 in the 6-Hour race after an impeccable drive. They have joined forces again this year to compete in this event at the wheel of the no. 35 Morgan-Judd LM P2 shod with Dunlop tyres.
I am really excited about racing in Bahrain, which is one of my favourite circuits.
After her stunning third place in front of her home crowd at Fuji shared with Alex Brundle and Gustavo Yacaman, Japanese woman driver Keiko Ihara arrives in Bahrain determined to put on another great performance although she knows it won’t be easy given the level of the opposition. This weekend she will again be the only woman driver in the race.
David Cheng is tackling this event determined to make up for his disappointment in Shanghai in which the result did not live up to his expectations. The Chinese driver with two titles in the Asian Le Mans Series with OAK Racing Team Total to his name wants to shine in the WEC as well.
Mark Patterson is just as enthusiastic. Although his first outing with OAK Racing in Shanghai did not end with a significant result, the American driver was very impressed by the professionalism of the Sarthe-based team and the convivial ambiance that reigns there. His solid experience as a gentlemen driver should help him to quickly learn the Bahrain International Circuit layout, which he will discover when free practice starts.
The drivers like the 5.412-km Bahrain track, which combines technical and quick sections, as well as its prevailing ambiance. However, they may have to cope with high temperatures, which are often the norm at this time of the year. The race starts in daylight and finishes six hours later after night has fallen - an additional factor that the teams have to take into account when deciding their strategy.
Keiko Ihara: “I am really excited about racing in Bahrain, which is one of my favourite circuits. I won the race in the Asian LMS and was on the WEC podium at Fuji with OAK Racing. I'd like to aim for the topmost step of the podium with my OAK Racing team mates at the end of the season.”
David Cheng: "I'm very excited to once again take part in the WEC with OAK Racing. I am once again joined by Mark (Patterson) who did a really good job with us last week in Shanghai and with Keiko (Ihara) who raced to victory with us in Asian LMS Fuji round who also took part in Bahrain with me last year. As we have seen in Shanghaï the field is very competitive in WEC but we'll be pushing hard to make another good result for our #35 Morgan LM P2. ”
Mark Patterson: “My maiden experience with OAK Racing exceeded my expectations by a wide margin, which were already high - excellent engineers and mechanics, all disciplined and coordinated around common goals. At Shanghai, a small brake bias issue cost us a lot during the last third of the race, but all else was bang on target.
I've never run Bahrain before and am really looking forward to notching up yet another global F1 race track on a belt that's getting pretty long now. Also planning on leaving my rain gear at home! Another first for me is sharing a race car with a woman driver, Keiko Ihara – what a kick - having competed against her at Le Mans and other venues in the recent past!"