Patrick Long 2nd Overall and 1st in LMP2 Class at Petit Le Mans

October 06, 2007

Written by: Penske PR

Photo courtesy

BRASELTON, Ga. – France’s Romain Dumas and Germany’s Timo Bernhard, with help from American Patrick Long, completed their season-long quest for the 2007 American Le Mans Series LMP2 drivers championship by winning their fifth straight class victory and coming within one second of the overall win in Saturday’s 1,000-mile Petit Le Mans classic at Road Atlanta in their No. 7 Penske Porsche RS Spyder.

Despite a 200-horsepower deficit to the Audi prototypes, the Penske Porsche RS Spyders had won eight consecutive races overall in addition to their 11 class wins, and Dumas, Bernhard and Long came within a second of making it nine Saturday evening. With 30 minutes remaining in the race, Dumas was leading overall by 37 seconds when a late-race yellow flag closed the field and gave the more powerful Audi a chance to catch and pass the Porsche. Dumas kept the LMP1 prototype in sight, but could not get by for the overall win.

“Timo and I are very pleased to win the LMP2 championship together — our first title as a driving pair,’ said Dumas, who earned his first ALMS drivers title. Bernhard has won two ALMS titles, one in a Porsche 911 GT3 RSRs in GT2.

“Penske racing prepared a perfect car, and they gave me the go-ahead to chase for the overall win once we determined the LMP2 title was secure. I tried my best, but we are very satisfied with the season we had, especially those six overall wins.

Bernhard, who possesses an overall victory in the 24 Hours of Daytona, an ALMS championship, and a class win at Le Mans, was happy to share this moment with his co-driver.

“I knew from the first time we co-drove together in 2005 that we could win a championship, but this year was beyond my dreams,” Bernhard said. “We had a great team effort today, and the whole Porsche and Penske organization deserves this championship.”

Long, who also has won an ALMS title and has two Le Mans class wins to his credit, just wanted to help the effort.

“It was a fantastic opportunity for me, but because Timo and Romain were so close to locking up the championship, my first goal was to bring the car home in one piece. I wasn’t about to screw up,” Long said.

“It was a perfect day for Penske Racing as we achieved many of the goals we set out to accomplish for 2007. We had already won the LMP2 team championship, and helped Porsche clinch the engine and chassis titles, and now we have won the drivers championship. The eight overall wins we have scored have far exceeded our expectations,” said Tim Cindric, president of Penske Performance.

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

The second Penske Porsche also finished in the top 10 overall and the top six in class. Sascha Maassen, Ryan Briscoe and Emmanuel Collard drove the No. 6 Penske Porsche RS Spyder to a seventh-place finish overall and a fifth in class. The Penske car suffered a broken steering rack and suspension damage due to an accident and that resulted in a long pit stop.