Porsche announced today that factory driver Patrick Long, 2-time winner at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, will return to action in the American Le Mans Series in 2009, driving the #45 Flying Lizard Porsche GT3 RSR with longtime friend and teammate Jorg Bergmeister.In joining Flying Lizard Motorsports, Long will enter what is expected to be an ultra-competitive ALMS GT2 class in 2009 with the defending class champions, and will team with 3-time ALMS GT2 Driver's Champion Bergmeister.Long and Bergmeister will reunite after two highly successful seasons driving together - 2005 and 2006 - when they drove for Petersen White Lightning Racing.Long, the 2005 ALMS GT2 Champion, and Bergmeister, the 2005, 2006 and 2008 ALMS GT2 Champion, as well as 2006 Grand-Am Daytona Prototype Champion, have won a total of 9 races together, eight in ALMS competition and once at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Patrick is no stranger to the Lizards, either, having driven for the Northern California-based team several times in his career, including at the 2006 24 Hours of Le Mans, and two podium finishes driving the #44 FLMS Porsche in 2007.
Long, fresh off a season of driving the Porsche RS Spyder for Penske Racing, expressed optimism at the prospect of racing with Bergmeister in the heightened competitive atmosphere of the GT2 class in 2009."For sure, driving with Flying Lizard and Jorg is a homecoming for me.Jorg and I have had a lot of success together in the past, and the Lizards are a great group of people who are like family to me.Seth and his team have done a great job of putting forth a huge organizational and competitive effort, and the results show in their race wins and championships."
FLMS - LBGP 2007 He continued, "It will be ultra-competitive in GT2 next year - similar, I'd guess, to what LMP2 was in 2008, but with twice as many manufacturers!With BMW entering a factory program, Ferrari for sure upping their game and of course Corvette coming to race later in the season, it's going to be all fireworks all the time next year. Porsche has done a great job of developing the GT3 RSR and the Farnbacher Loles team will have made progress too - Jorg and I will have our work cut out for us!"
Flying Lizard team owner Seth Neiman looks forward to a competitive season: "Flying Lizard is excited and energized to be back with the series for our sixth consecutive year. Our goal this year is to defend our team and drivers' championships. Everything we've done since the day after celebrating at Laguna Seca has been focused on that goal. With 2009 likely to be a step up from the already intense competition of last season, it is going to be a very tough and challenging effort. The fans should be in for a real treat."