American racer, Patricia Fernandez, has set her sights on becoming the fastest woman ever at Dundrod in this year’s Metzeler Ulster Grand Prix.
Fernandez was impressive on her debut at last year’s event but is hoping to go even better this time round and beat the lap record set by Maria Costello MBE in 2010.
Fernandez said: “When I first arrived at the Metzeler Ulster Grand Prix I was really determined to break the fastest female lap time, but with the weather and missing a couple of sessions I lost out on some valuable track time, time that might just have helped me to reach my goal.
“This year I’ll be back stronger and wiser. I’ve now ridden the circuit so I have a much better idea of what to expect. Hopefully after a few laps I’ll shake the cobwebs away and I can pick up where I left off.”
The 29-year-old will once again be riding for the Lisburn-based Magic Bullet Racing Team, on-board their Yamaha R6 machine in the Supersport class.
Fernandez is currently in her third season of professional racing and competes in the Moto America Superstock 600 Championship for the ADR Motorsports/Fly Racing Team.
Fernandez’s desire to go road racing was influenced by a visit to Northern Ireland in 2013 for the Sunflower meeting.
She added: “I spent some time with a group of former road racers who took me up around the circuit and it was only then that I started thinking about going road racing. I knew straight away that I’d love to give it a try.
“That first event was challenging, thrilling and a whole lot of other emotions balled into one. It was so different to the traditional circuits I was used to. When you are looking through trees, bushes and walls it can play mind games with you, and it can be hard to tell yourself to go faster.”
Fernandez, originally from California, is just one of many international competitors that are beginning to take part in road racing events and Fernandez believes that this can only be a positive thing for the sport.
She said: “In America I’m flooded with questions about the Ulster. I’ve been on TV and radio shows and featured in a lot of magazine articles. I know I have a lot of fans back home who would love to come see it for themselves.
“I also know of a few other American riders that are trying to make arrangements to race at Dundrod, so I’m sure that we’ll only see that fan base continue to grow.”
Clerk of the Course at the Ulster Grand Prix, Noel Johnston, is happy to see Fernandez back at the event in 2015 and believes that she will be even quicker this year.
He said: “Patricia is a great competitor and her passion for real road racing reflects the global appeal of the sport. She’s become an ambassador not only for the Metzeler Ulster Grand Prix, but for female racers too.
“She showed great pace on her debut last year and she has a strong team behind her once again in 2015, so I’m confident that she will be even faster this time around. I’ll certainly be watching the timing screens to see if she can hit her target and set the fastest female lap of Dundrod.”
Practice sessions for the 2015 Ulster Grand Prix get underway on Wednesday 5 August, with the racing action taking place on Thursday 6 August and Saturday 8 August.