Melanie Paterson will move up a class as she joins American Spirit Racing for the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta next weekend, the final race of the 2003 American Le Mans Series season.

The Canadian driver will join Michael Lewis and Tomy Drissi as a third driver in the team's Riley & Scott MkIIIC-Lincoln in the Prototype 900 class, marking Paterson's first experience in the most powerful cars that compete in the ALMS.

Since joining the series in 2002, all of her starts have been in the smaller, less-powerful Prototypes of the LMP 675 class, most of them with the Essex Racing team.

"It is a great opportunity for me to race with American Spirit Racing," said Paterson, a former alpine ski racer. "I have been looking to move to LMP 900 and this was the perfect chance. I am looking forward to working with Michael, Tomy and the team to have a great performance at Petit Le Mans."

"I am very excited to have Melanie with us at Petit," said Jon Lewis, owner of American Spirit Racing. "She has proven to have a very consistent driving style, something that is extremely important in long races like Petit. I think Melanie will make a very good addition to our operation."

 

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