ALMS Rising Young Talent Patrick Long Makes His Second Trip To The Petit Le Mans Braselton, GA - Patrick Long, Porsche factory driver and one of the American Le Mans Series' rising young stars will make his second attempt of winning the Chevy ...
ALMS Rising Young Talent Patrick Long Makes His Second Trip To The Petit Le Mans
Braselton, GA - Patrick Long, Porsche factory driver and one of the American Le Mans Series' rising young stars will make his second attempt of winning the Chevy presents Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta Sept. 22-25.
Long, a California native, competed for several years on the European Circuit as the first ever non-German to race sports cars for the prestigious UPS Porsche junior team. As a rare American Porsche factory driver, Long went on to wow Porsche as well as the Racer's Group and New Century Mortgage after his first performance in the American Le Mans Series during 2003's Petit Le Mans race at Road Atlanta. Although Long faired well at the 10 hour or 1000 mile endurance race which would eventually lead to a full time ALMS schedule, he admits that the race was not something he was able to take on with ease.
"The experience for me at Petit last year was great," Long said. "It was also a little overwhelming but by the time I got into the race and my stint began, I realized that it's like anything else you try for the first time meaning you can eventually figure it out. There was a lot of anticipation leading up of what was going on, how to deal with pit stops, yellow flags, lapped traffic, and prototypes. None of that had ever been presented to me. I had always been in a short race, out on my own and so I wondered if I could really complete such a grueling race. The race went like a dream. I feel as though I made a star debut, leaving the humbleness out of it, and that really opened some eyes not only at the racer's Group and New Century Mortgage but also at Porsche."
Long is fortunate to have been visible that fateful day at Petit. His performance was so good, he was able to, unknowingly at the time, secure a full-ride for the 2004 ALMS season.
"Pat Flanagan at New Century communicated to Porsche that they were willing to go down this road and that they wanted to come to ALMS racing full time and do a big sponsorship deal but there were a few things that New Century Mortgage wanted, one of which was me," Long said. "That was what gave me the opportunity to come to ALMS racing. It wasn't much me making the decision that I wanted to come home to America and leave Europe to race in the biggest sports car championship in the world but is was Porsche showing their confidence in me. They showed a lot trust in me to be able to go out this year, immerse myself in a team and represent Porsche. This meant not only being a representative of Porsche within a Porsche organization, but to go outside of that and go to one of these teams like the Racer's Group that is a family run business. It has been great and the best of both worlds. I have my security blanket with Porsche but I am also out there learning how to drive for independent teams."
Long will continue to compete in the American Le Mans Series for the rest of this season. He is excited about the future of the American Le mans Series and hopes to return for the 2005 season.
"I think that the ALMS is going in the right direction," Long said. "These circuits that I am learning this year are phenomenal. They have lots of history and it's really a lot of fun. This is a rigorous schedule and it's a unique feeling to see that same people week in and week out. I think that the tough schedule is a trying test, which adds another element of difficulty to this championship, which is something that I like. I would put my money on being back next year because that is where Porsche's focus has been and will be next year. Obviously the final decision does not come from me but if it were my choice, I would definitely be returning."
CHEVY PRESENTS PETIT LE MANS EVENT INFORMATION
Chevy presents Petit Le Mans will get the green flag at 12 noon (Eastern) on Saturday, September 25. The race will cover 1,000 miles, or 10 hours, which ever comes first on the 2.54-mile, 12-turn Road Atlanta circuit. Qualifying will be held on Friday, Sept. 24, along with an ALMS Fan Forum and an open paddock autograph session featuring all ALMS drivers. ALMS cars will also practice on Wednesday and Thursday of race week.
The race will be televised live in North America by the SPEED Channel and in Europe by MotorsTV. American Le Mans Series Radio will have live coverage of qualifying and the race that can be heard online at www.americanlemans.com.
Ticket information for the event is available online at www.americanlemans.com or by calling the Road Atlanta ticket office at (800) 849-RACE.