Patrick Long preliminary test notes

Patrick Long Joins Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning for LeMans Challenge; Team Shatters Class Track Record in Testing. LE MANS, France -- The No. 90 Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR easily broke the...

Patrick Long Joins Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning for LeMans Challenge; Team Shatters Class Track Record in Testing.

LE MANS, France -- The No. 90 Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR easily broke the LM GT class track record last weekend in preliminary testing for the 24 Heures Du Mans, scheduled for June 12-13. The four minute, 5.975 second lap, turned in by Jorg Bergmeister of Germany, on the final lap of testing, broke the existing record by more than one second.

Sharing testing duties with Bergmeister on the Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing Porsche was American Patrick Long (Oak Park, Calif.), and Michael Petersen (Las Vegas, Nev.). In addition, Sascha Maassen of Germany, the 2003 LM GT class pole sitter and race winner at Le Mans, will join Bergmeister and Long for final qualifying and the race itself. Bergmeister, Long, and Maassen are all members of the works Porsche driver team.

The test of the Westward Casino/ MMPIE/ PAWS/ Mail2Web.com/ Michelin Porsche was the only opportunity for the Petersen/ White Lightning crew to test on the Circuit Des 24 Heures Du Mans in preparation for the worlds greatest sports car race. Bergmeister, Long, and Petersen all took turns in the 2004 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, familiarizing themselves with the course and preparing for the teams return to compete in the 72nd edition of endurance classic.

Long, a rookie at Le Mans, was required to complete 10 laps as required by the Automobile Club De lOuest (ACO) to be cleared to participate in the event; he quickly brought his lap times down to times competitive with Bergmeister. Afterwards, Long was impressed by the experience: For the team, its great to have both an excellent race car and a great qualifying pace, as we showed in the end of the day. Jorg drove flawless and got a really good setup. That allowed me to get settled in the late afternoon and put up some really consistent laps together. I came out of the day with what I wanted to accomplish and I am quite sure that the team did as well with that great lap of Jorgs.

I didn't expect to be at Le Mans this year. But to be invited to join the most potent driver and team combination is quite an honor. I look at my first opportunity at Le Mans as a very solid chance to win. I can't tell you in words what that would mean.

While Long will be a rookie in the 24 Hours of LeMans, his racing at LeMans is a coming home of sorts, as he lived in the town of LeMans in 1999, when he contested the French Elf Campus formula car series. He placed third in the series, his first year racing carsafter a stellar karting career in American and Europe.

Bergmeister was also pleased with the test The team did a really great job. At the beginning of the day we had some handling problems but we really improved upon that and that is the way it should be. At the end we put on some qualifiers [Michelin tires] and I had a clear lap and the car felt really, really good. We worked a lot on the race setup during the day and I think we have a good car for the race. We'll see. Hopefully, it will go that good at the race as well.

Patrick Long concurred: For the team its great to have both an excellent race car and a great qualifying pace, as we showed in the end of the day. Jorg drove flawless and got a really good setup. That allowed me to get settled in the late afternoon and put up some really consistent laps together. I came out of the day with what I wanted to accomplish and I am quite sure that the team did as well with that great lap of Jorgs. So everyone is happy. I'm thankful for the opportunity and I'm looking forward to the race.

-pl/gm-

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About this article
Series Le Mans
Drivers Sascha Maassen , Jörg Bergmeister , Patrick Long , Michael Petersen