Patrick Long Set for Sebring Challenge with The Racer's Group SEBRING, Fla. - Patrick Long's endurance racing learning curve continues this weekend at the Mobil One 12 Hours of Sebring, arguably the toughest sports car racing venue in America.
Patrick Long Set for Sebring Challenge with The Racer's Group
SEBRING, Fla. - Patrick Long's endurance racing learning curve continues this weekend at the Mobil One 12 Hours of Sebring, arguably the toughest sports car racing venue in America. Long, a works Porsche driver, will again be driving with The Racer's Group, teaming with Cort Wagner and Kelly Collins in the #66 New Century Mortgage Porsche 911 GT3 RSR.
While Long has never raced a Porsche 911 GT3 at the fabled airstrip circuit, he is familiar with various sections of the track from his days in Skip Barber formula cars. "I'm not sure how much of an advantage it will be," said Long. "But it gives me a bit of confidence that I know my way around parts of the circuit. I learned so much at Daytona, I'm looking forward to putting my experience to use at Sebring."
Long's performance at this year's Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona helped propel The Racer's Group to a strong - if disappointing - fifth place (14th overall) finish in GT class. After suffering an early setback, losing six laps when they had three tires go down, the team battled back during the night to move from seventh to third place, only to have a gearbox glitch slow their pace the final hours.
Long drove brilliantly, particularly through the rainy night-time hours when he was often the fastest car on the track - in any class, including the prototypes. "With our early misfortune," Long explained, "my teammates and I knew we had nothing to lose, so we pushed the car to the limit through the night rain."
In addition to being prepared mentally for Sebring, Long is tuned-up physically as well. In late February, he attended the Porsche works driver training camp at Lago Maggiore in Italy. The camp - a collaboration between the University Hospital of Freiburg in Germany and Porsche motorsport - put all eight Porsche works drivers through a rigorous regimen of physical training and testing. The camp is designed to prepare drivers for the physical demands of driving 450-horsepower Porsche sports cars.
For 2004, Long was elevated to "works driver" status after only one season on the UPS Porsche Junior Team, a process that typically takes three years. He is only the second Porsche Junior team member to be promoted so early (the other being German driver Lucas Luhr).
Long will contest all nine ALMS races for The Racer's Group, beginning this weekend in Sebring. The 22-year-old American will also compete in select sports car races in Europe with Porsche. To do both, Long will maintian a residence on both sides of the Atlantic.
The past six years Long has lived and raced in Europe, where he won international events in karting, Formula Ford, Formula Renault, and the German Porsche Carrera Cup. For more information on Patrick Long visit his website at: www.patricklong.com.