Denmark’s Anders Fjordbach will team up with South African born Mark Patterson and American Chris McMurry for the 2018-19 Asian Le Mans Series to front Algarve Pro Racing’s bid for the newly-introduced Amateur Trophy and a coveted invitation to the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Fjordbach, aged 27 from Aalborg, has spent the last two years in the European Le Mans Series’ (ELMS) headlining LMP2 division, and it was during the 4 Hours of Silverstone in August that he and Algarve Pro Racing first engaged in AsianLMS talks, and few weeks later were able to complete the arrangements.
The Dane began his racing career in the VW Polo Cup and Renault Clio Cup in his native Denmark, but quickly progressed to the Danish Thundersports Championship before ascending to Europe’s most esteemed sportscar categories. Since 2015, the Dane also added full VLN, Renaultsport Trophy and Blancpain Sprint Series campaigns to his résumé, as well as a Nürburgring 24 Hours outing and a pair of 24H Dubai victories.
“I’m really happy to be joining Algarve Pro Racing and to be entering the Asian Le Mans Series for the first time,” said Fjordbach. “I’ve always looked to Asia with interest and I have been given the perfect opportunity to make my debut in the Far East with Chris and Mark.
“We hope to win the LMP2 Amateur Trophy and secure the invitation to the 24 Hours of Le Mans for Algarve Pro Racing and Mark. We will have to perform from the very start of the season because there are only four races, but we will improve quickly if we all work together. The quality of the field is very high and paddock rumours suggest more star names are looking to enter. I expect the competition to be as tough as the ELMS, but I think we can compete well.”
Patterson raced with Algarve Pro Racing in the 2016-17 AsianLMS, achieving a number of podium finishes, and is currently competing with the team in the ELMS. The 66-year-old Bronze driver has featured in the team’s last two campaigns at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, a race he has done six times. He also has nine Daytona 24 Hours and two Petit Le Mans appearances to his name and paired with McMurry during the American Le Mans Series era.
“It’s great to have extended my relationship with Algarve Pro Racing for another run at the Asian Le Mans Series, which only continues to grow in stature. This season promises to be the best yet, as the Automobile Club de l’Ouest has done a great job at expanding the championship and attracting a lot of good teams and drivers. I’m pleased to be racing with Chris again and it’s great to have Anders as a partner for the first time. We will be a good line-up with a very real shot at winning the Amateur Trophy.”
Fellow Bronze-rated driver McMurry, now aged 53, participated in nearly 100 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) races between 2001 and 2013. In that time, the Phoenix, Arizona-domiciled racer achieved numerous top results in both LMP1 and LMP2, including a win in the 2005 12 Hours of Sebring and a memorable podium at Petit Le Mans in 2013.
“For the last five or six years I’ve been focused solely on helping my son Matt get his driving career launched, and with that now well on its way, I decided to dust off the helmet and give it another run before too much more time passes,” said McMurry. “I’ll be giving it my all. For the team, for Anders, and especially for Mark, who has been a good friend across the years and who, like Matt, has age-related 24 Hours of Le Mans records in mind.”
Algarve Pro Racing Team Principal, Stewart Cox, said: “To be eligible for the Amateur Trophy, two drivers must be Bronze-rated and the other Silver. We looked at a lot of different options for our team’s 2018-19 Asian Le Mans Series campaign and a key objective was finding two quick Bronze drivers to pair with a quick Silver driver. Many Bronze drivers are relatively new to the sport, so finding two with as much experience should really help. Anders was keen to get Asia experience and he’s shown to be a quick and safe pair of hands. We like this trio.”
The 2018-19 Asian Le Mans Series gets underway at the Shanghai International Circuit in China on 23-25 November, and the four-part calendar includes halts at Fuji International Speedway in Japan (5-7 December), Chang International Circuit in Thailand (10-12 January) and Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia (22-24 February).