Detroit Grand Prix Race Report

August 31, 2008

Patrick Long, driving the #6 Penske Porsche RS Spyder, took 5th place in the LMP2 class of the American Le Mans Series Detroit Grand Prix this past Saturday, and looked set for another podium finish if not for a late-race puncture.

Both the nos. 6 and 7 Penske Porsche RS Spyders endured a difficult qualifying session on Friday, as both practice sessions of the day saw wet conditions. The team chose to pursue a split setup approach, using both cars simultaneously during Friday’s wet sessions to find the most effective setup. The #7 car, driven by Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas, had an electrical glitch which compromised some of its track time, so Patrick’s #6 team took an aggressive approach to defining their race setup. Qualifying produced a somewhat disappointing 5th place result for the #7 car, and 6th for the #6.

Long stayed out of trouble on a tight and tricky street course and climbed into P3 in the LMP2 class prior to handing over to new co-driver Ryan Briscoe near the race’s halfway mark. Briscoe, who substituted for Sascha Maassen at Detroit, ran both the ALMS and IndyCar race for Team Penske, in an attempt to gain him valuable seat time ahead of late September’s Petit Le Mans race.

Once Briscoe took over the controls of the #6, he fought back and forth between 3rd and 5th in class. With less than 10 minutes remaining in the race, he was forced to pit with a tire puncture, demoting he and Long to 5th in class, where they would finish the race.

Patrick said, “It was a tough weekend, especially after our trying qualifying. Our race setup and strategy seemed to be right on par. It was great driving with Ryan, as we go back together about 10 years in our careers. We karted and raced together all over Europe, so it was good to team with him for the first time in quite some time. He did a great job taking the fight to the Acuras, and it was unfortunate to suffer an unscheduled pit stop so close to the end of the race. On the bright side, we were able to extend the gap back to the #20 Dyson guys in the driver’s championship. I’m looking forward to the short break we have before we head to Road Atlanta for Petit Le Mans.”