Long Ready to Rejoin to Petersen/White Lightning

April 24, 2006

Alton, Virginia — American Porsche factory driver Patrick Long has the best of both worlds. On one hand, he is part of Penske Racing’s first year of full competition in the American Le Mans Series with the Porsche RS Spyder prototype.

The 24-year-old also gets to return to Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing for eight events in 2006 as he will reunite with the defending GT2 team champion in the No. 31 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. He again will partner with fellow co-champion Jorg Bergmeister starting at the Lone Star Grand Prix in Houston.

"I feel very comfortable with both the RS Spyder program and Petersen/White Lightning. I know everyone very well and it’s a relaxed setting," Long said. "The preparation will be the same, but the surroundings will be a little different."

"It worked out pretty well last year so I am very excited," Bergmeister said. "It is good. Patrick and I are not just teammates, I think we are also more friends. It isn’t just normal business but it is more fun. So that is really cool."

At the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, the No. 7 Penske Porsche of Long, Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas retired near the 7:30 mark after leading early in the race. Meanwhile in GT2, Petersen/White Lightning was part of the most competitive class battle in Sebring’s history where the top three cars finished on the same lap after 12 hours. There were 25 lead changes among four manufacturers, a testament to the depth and quality of the GT2 class this year with Porsche being joined by BMW, Ferrari, Panoz and later this year Lexus.

"The competition definitely is stiffer in GT2," Long said. "At Houston, we’ll be fighting for tenths of a second rather than chasing reliability. As a driver, all I can do is go as quick as I can. The results will speak for themselves.’

The next round of the 2006 American Le Mans Series is the Lone Star Grand Prix, scheduled for 8 p.m. CDT on May 12 in Houston. It will be broadcast at 1 p.m. May 13 EDT on CBS Sports, the first of five straight Series events on network television. Qualifying is set for 6:15 p.m. CDT on May 11. American Le Mans Radio will have live coverage at www.americanlemans.com, which also will have IMSA Live Timing & Scoring.

SOURCE: American Le mans Series