Big Results in Austin

September 03, 2017

The Pirelli World Challenge series held a rare triple-header at Circuit of the Americas this weekend, adding a makeup race from the rained-out Mosport race to a previously scheduled doubleheader. The series’ SprintX sub-championship, which features 60-minute races and teams of two drivers, ran its last three races of the season and crowned its first champion as well.

Patrick and longtime friend and teammate Jörg Bergmeister cashed in with strong results in all three races. The duo scored a victory in Friday’s race, were spun out but launched a spirited recovery drive to finish P8 in Saturday’s race, then rebounded with another podium and P2 in Sunday’s sub-championship decider. While Patrick finished 3rd in the SprintX championship, he still holds the overall GT lead with two races left to run at the season finale at Sonoma, Sep. 15-17.

“Jorg and I first stood on the podium together at Le Mans in 2004,” said Long, the 2011 PWC GT champion. “It’s been a great run and he’s been a class act. He turned over a car to me that was not only still fresh but in balance. From there, I tried to set sail and have clean out laps. I didn’t have any traffic to worry about. We knew the Ferrari (No. 31) would be strong, they’d been strong all year – strong acceleration, aero, top speed – and this track has a little bit of everything. We really fought hard the last two days to find a balance that was optimal. He certainly drove up to me early on in my stint. Then it just became a mental battle. We’re here to win, and the best and safest way is to stay out front and we were able to do that. There’s a team behind me in Wright Motorsport who has put a lot on the line. We’re a small organization and we push hard as a single pro entry against some big, manufacturer-backed, multiple-car entries.”

2017 PWC - Circuit of The Americas

“I thought that I would just try to see what would happen at the start from the outside front row,” said Bergmeister. “Luckily, I managed to get around on the outside and grab the lead. I was able to build a nice gap in the lead. From there I just tried to conserve the tires for Patrick. It worked out perfectly. Driving with Patrick is good. I enjoy it. Obviously, his championship is on the line here so I have quite a responsibility not to mess it up for him.”

2017 PWC - Circuit of The Americas