New Century-Aasco Entry Returns to Rolex GT Class in Virginia ALTON, Vir., October 4, 2005 -- Pat Flanagan (Aliso Viejo, Calif.) and Patrick Long (Las Vegas, Nev.) will return to the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Grand Touring (GT)...
New Century-Aasco Entry Returns to Rolex GT Class in Virginia
ALTON, Vir., October 4, 2005 -- Pat Flanagan (Aliso Viejo, Calif.) and Patrick Long (Las Vegas, Nev.) will return to the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Grand Touring (GT) class this Sunday for the VIR 400 at Virginia International Raceway (VIR). The two dipped into the Daytona Prototype (DP) class at the most recent Rolex Series race at Watkins Glen International to gain experience in the purpose-built racecar class. However, as they have done in five GT races this season in the No. 26 New Century Mortgage Aasco Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, they will challenge for their first Rolex Series victory together in the 400 kilometer/ 250 mile event. The VIR race twill mark the final time this season that Flanagan and Long will share driving duties in the New Century Porsche. Thus far, they have earned a season-best finish of fourth at their debut at California Speedway and are coming off a ninth in their DP debut two weeks ago. Long, the only American Porsche factory driver, is fresh off his first victory in the 1,000 mile Petit Le Mans driving a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. That adds to Long's career endurance sports car trophies earned at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (2004) and the 12 Hours of Sebring (2005). An impressive career total made the more amazing that he is in only his third year of sports car racing.
The 3.27-mile race course in the southern edge of Virginia is a classic American road racing facility. The historic course has been on the Grand American schedule since 2001 after it was renovated in the late 1990s to host major motorsports events. The first Rolex Series event held there came in 2002. Despite its longstanding presence on the Rolex circuit, this visit will be the first for both drivers at the 17-turn facility.
Practice begins on Friday, October 7th with qualifying scheduled for the GT cars at 12:45 PM (EDT), Saturday. SPEED Channel will show the VIR 400 live at 1 PM (EDT) on Sunday, October 9th. Further live coverage of the event, via timing and scoring, can be found at www.GrandAmerican.com.
(About this weekend): "The biggest thing is it is a new circuit for both Pat and me. So, we are both focused in on what I hear is a challenging circuit at VIR. This is the last race of the season for us and we are looking at finishing on a strong note. It will be fun getting back into the GT car after the last race in the DP. I hear this track will be very difficult on overtaking. This will be a race of attrition like most of the Rolex Series races are. That makes it even more important to focus on our strategy."
(About his goals for VIR): "Our main goal is to win this race for Pat and the Aasco guys. Hopefully, we can also help Craig Stanton win the championship by beating the BMWs and GTOs. We're obviously out for the win but helping the other Porsche guys out any way that we can is important."
(About the differences racing the GT versus the DP): "It was definitely easier doing the overtaking rather than being overtaken at Watkins Glen. It was much easier in the DP to stay on the lead lap because the people that could put you down a lap were in the same class. In the GT class you are sort of in the hands of the DP race. You can't allow yourself too much difference between yourself and the GT leaders because there is the risk of going down a lap if the yellow comes out with the overall leader in between you and the class leader. That isn't as big of an issue in the DPs."
(About his recent string of races in different Porsches):"After running a standard Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, a Rolex Cup car, the Essex Racing DP and the Porsche RSR in the last five weeks, it isn't too big of a deal going back to the Rolex GT car after the last race in a DP. It has been a busy few months but that's the way that I like it. It's helping me become a more diverse driver. Thanks to the opportunities by Pat and a few other one-off drives, I have really been able to drive a lot of different cars this year and that has been a lot of fun."
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