France’s David Zollinger will complete Algarve Pro Racing’s 24 Hours of Le Mans driver line-up, filling the seat vacated by the recently injured Mark Patterson.
A heavy testing crash during the lead-up to the 2019 European Le Mans Series (ELMS) 4 Hours of Monza resulted in three pelvic fractures for Patterson.
Regrettably, the 66-year old will be sidelined for the foreseeable future, forcing him to relinquish his seat in the 87th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans next month (15-16 June).
However, Algarve Pro Racing is pleased to welcome Zollinger to the fold as a lastminute substitute for Patterson.
The 36-year old Frenchman from Pontarlier, began his car racing career in the 2000 Formula Renault Campus France series and spent the next five years in single-seaters, dipping into touring cars before making a successful and enduring switch to sportscars.
Zollinger is a stalwart of the VdeV Endurance Series whose racing resume also features sporadic appearances in many other high-profile championships, including the French GT Championship, 24H Series and FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC).
In fact, he made his 24 Hours of Le Mans debut in 2010 and returned to the legendary twice-around-the-clock enduro in 2017, when he raced to a tenth-place finish in the super-competitive LMP2 division.
Zollinger will join Algarve Pro Racing for two days of testing alongside reigning ELMS LMP2 Champion Andrea Pizzitola at Motorland Aragon, Spain on Wednesday and Thursday (15-16 May).
There, he will get acquainted with the ORECA 07 LMP2 in preparation for the official Le Mans Test (2 June) and the 24 Hours of Le Mans itself on 15-16 June, where he will be teamed with fellow countryman Pizzitola and American racer John Falb.
“I am very happy and excited to be joining Algarve Pro Racing in the 87th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans,” said Zollinger. “Not only am I joining a very professional and high-performing team, but I am also joining forces with Andrea Pizzitola, a former pilot of my academy, Driving-Koncept, and John Falb, a former ELMS LMP3 Champion. I thank Samantha and Stewart Cox for their warm welcome to the team and also Mark Patterson for accepting me in the project as a lastminute substitute.”
Algarve Pro Racing Team Principal, Stewart Cox, said: “We are delighted to be welcoming David (Zollinger) to the Algarve Pro Racing fold for what is the highlight of our season – the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Of course, we are sad and disappointed that Mark Patterson can’t take up his seat at Le Mans and we will miss him greatly, but it’s comforting to have found a strong and experienced substitute who will undoubtedly represent Algarve Pro Racing well at Le Mans next month.”