Patrick Long and the Wright Motorsport crew left the season-opening Pirelli World Challenge doubleheader at St. Petersburg leading the 2017 championship, courtesy of twin podium finishes on the bumpy street course. In Saturday’s round 1, Patrick drove the #58 Porsche 911 GT3 R to a 3rd place finish, passing the Cadillac of Johnny O’Connell late in the race and later benefitting from a mistake with two other competitors to claim a podium spot. Patrick’s fastest lap in race 1 yielded him a second-row grid spot for Sunday’s race 2.
Starting 3rd on the grid for Sunday’s race, Long took advantage of some turn one shenanigans at the race start, sweeping into the lead as the two cars making up the front row took each other out of the race. Patrick later survived a two-lap sprint to the finish following a late yellow flag to keep O’Connell at bay and now holds the early lead in the championship. The PWC next visits the famed streets of Long Beach on April 7-9.