Long makes Porsche proud in win

November 05, 2007

Written by: D.C. WILLIAMS

Photos courtesy Robin Thompson, Martin Spetz and Motorsport.com

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Heading into the Porsche-only fest known as Rennsport III, which concluded Sunday at Daytona International Speedway, Porsche factory driver Patrick Long felt like the best thing he could do was just lay low and not make much noise.

“Knowing that Rennsport was coming up, at one of the Rolex Series races a few months ago, I asked Hurley Haywood if he might let me drive one of the awesome cars from the Porsche car collection in the (Jacksonville-based) Brumos Museum,” the 26-year-old driver said. “And he was pretty non-committal.

Long didn’t do a very good job of laying low.

Long got the call car-owner Paul Thieme to drive the No. 68 Porsche 962 which Mario and Michael Andretti finished 47th in the 1989 Rolex 24 At Daytona.

Then, on Sunday, he was all over everyone’s radar.

After starting second in the 26-car field, Long claimed the checkered flag after an eight-lap dog fight with two other former Rolex 24 cars — former open-wheel driver Mark Hotchkis in the second-place No. 10 Porsche 962, and third-place Lloyd Hawkins in the No. 16 Porsche 962.

Long, who spent the 2007 season driving the No. 23 Alex Job Racing Porsche-Crawford Daytona Prototype, grabbed the race lead by the end of the first lap. From that point, he admittedly he could have watched his two pursuers in the rear-view mirror.

“But that wouldn’t have been much fun,” he said, “so, on the third or fourth lap, I swung out and let them go by. I wanted to see what they had.”

Long regained the lead a couple of laps later, but was passed by Hotchkis during the race’s penultimate lap, setting up a dramatic last lap, last-turn pass going into the backstretch’s chicane. He managed to outbrake Hotchkis and took the checkered flag.

“We also showed that our cars are both fast and reliable in this tough 1,000-mile event.”

“This has been a wonderful experience representing my employer (Porsche) here at Daytona,” Long said. “I really find myself standing in awe of those drivers who are here this weekend — those who have helped write most of Porsche’s successful racing stories over the years. I can only hope to successfully help continue that tradition.”

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