New Century Duo to Make DP Debut at The Glen WATKINS GLEN, NY., September 20, 2005 -- Pat Flanagan (Aliso Viejo, Calif.) and Patrick Long (Las Vegas, Nev.) will make their Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype (DP) debuts...
New Century Duo to Make DP Debut at The Glen
WATKINS GLEN, NY., September 20, 2005 -- Pat Flanagan (Aliso Viejo, Calif.) and Patrick Long (Las Vegas, Nev.) will make their Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype (DP) debuts this weekend at the historic Watkins Glen International race course. While both have impressive resumes-- Long's including titles at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and 12 Hours of Sebring-- neither has driven a purpose-built, prototype sports car in competition. Long, 24, has become synonymous with driving Porsche's 911 to the edge, while Flanagan has multiple top-five Rolex Series finishes in the highly competitive Grand Touring (GT) class. The step into the No. 5 Essex Racing Crawford is an opportunity for both to experience the high-downforce and low weight of the Grand American Road Racing Association's premier class. Saturday's Crown Royal 250 at the Glen will bring Long, a Porsche factory driver, and Flanagan, the president of New Century Mortgage, together with long-time sports car participant Michael Gue, owner of Essex Racing.
"I am really excited to be stepping up to the Daytona Prototype for this race," commented Flanagan. "We had an open weekend in the schedule and the guys from Essex needed drivers for this race. It will be fun to be the guys doing the passing instead of being passed for a change. This will help Patrick get some more time in a car with downforce. The timing is perfect as Porsche starts to head back into prototype racing. I want to thank Uwe Brettel [president, Porsche Motorsports North America] and the rest of the Porsche executives for letting Patrick drive a non-Porsche powered car. I am going into the weekend without setting any expectations. This is a one-time deal for us and we will be back in the Aasco Porsche at VIR."
"When the idea came up to drive in the DP with Pat I was thrilled," offered Long on the opportunity. "I am just elated that Porsche has looked at the big picture and realized this is a great experience for me. And I am very grateful to Pat for the experience. This is my first time driving in any kind of prototype. I'm looking forward to learning this weekend as much as I am having fun. Both Pat and I are going to take a calm, methodical approach and just soak it all up and enjoy the experience. Obviously, with my single-seater and karting background, I've been itching to get back into one of these types of racecars. So it will rekindle some of the emotion of a fast, stiff racecar. But, my main objective is to win with Porsche in the GT classes."
Essex Racing currently sits 16th in the DP point standings after 11 of 14 races. A top finish of 12th, twice including the most recent race at Phoenix, is the best result for the Georgia-based team to date. While competing in the No. 26 New Century Mortgage Porsche 911 GT3 Cup entry for five races thus far in the 2005 Rolex Series GT class, the driving duo of Long and Flanagan have a top finish of fourth at their debut at California Speedway. A sixth at Phoenix was the second best finish.
"Mike Gue and I go back to my karting days when I raced with James, his son," commented Long on the choice to run with Essex Racing. "So it was natural that one of the first calls we made would be to Essex. They had a seat available and we were happy to fill it."
Saturday will be Flanagan and Long's second visit to Watkins Glen this season. Earlier in the year they qualified third on the "short" circuit in the No. 26 Aasco Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3. That event accompanied the NASCAR Nextel Cup weekend. They would finish tenth in class on the 2.45-mile course. This weekend's 250-mile event, which accompanies the IRL IndyCar Series, will be on the "long" or full course. At 3.4-miles, the track provides a more traditional and more challenging circuit for the two drivers.
"This will be my first time running the long course," remarked Long about the historic Watkins Glen track. "So there will be a learning curve running a DP for the first time on a track that I haven't run before. I ran on the NASCAR circuit earlier this year so I know that Watkins Glen lives up to all the hype and then some."
The No. 26 New Century Mortgage Porsche 911 GT3 Cup of Aasco Motorsports will return for the next GT race at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) on October 9th.
Qualifying for the Crown Royal 250 at the Glen will take place at 4:40 PM (EDT), Friday, September 23. The 250-mile/ 74 lap race will start at 3 PM on Saturday. Timing and scoring can be found at www.GrandAmerican.com for all practices, qualifying and the race. SPEED Channel will broadcast the race live beginning at 3 PM (EDT) on Saturday.