Pole and Victory at COTA in PWC

March 06, 2016

Patrick Long made an impressive return to the Pirelli World Challenge, after not having raced in the series since winning the driver’s championship in 2011, driving the #31 EFFORT Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R to pole position and a win in the first race of the season-opening doubleheader at COTA. At the drop of the green flag, he led the field into COTA’s famous uphill turn one, but yielded the lead to Bryan Heitkotter’s Nissan on the exit. A quick delay for a full-course yellow later, and the 50-minute sprint race resumed. After keeping Heitkotter within reach, Long attacked with 10 minutes remaining, getting around the Nissan in and pulling out a considerable gap in the closing moments.

Patrick said, “That Nissan came out of somewhere I wasn’t ready there for on the start, and it launched an attack. After the start, I realized that we had a little bit of pace. So I stayed in line and get away from third and fourth so that we could have a race for the end. It all played out. It was really touch and go. I tried to launch my attack just before we got to traffic so that I could try and make a run. It all played out, so I’m really happy. When you’re on the Porsche factory team, every time you sit in the car, it’s a sprint. My teammates are so bloody fast, I’m made to look bad unless I’m 10/10ths every time I get in the race car. I just had to get my head around the rules to understand leading this field to the green after a few years away so that I wasn’t going to make a blunder or stink up the show.”

Notably, Long’s win was the first victory in international competition for the new 911 GT3 R, and the second maiden win for a Porsche racing car with Patrick behind the wheel; in 2010 Long also drove the innovative 911 GT3 R Hybrid to its first victory at the 1000km of Zhuhai, China. That 911 GT3 R Hybrid also went on to have its first overall win with Patrick at the controls, in the VLN Masters series at the Nürburgring Nordschliefe in 2011.

Race 2
Sunday’s race was over all too quickly for Long, as he started the race in p2. On the uphill run to turn one, Long was contacted from behind by the Nissan of James Davison, and had a hard hit into the wall on driver’s right. The resulting cleanup took 10 minutes, eating away from the 50-minute race distance. Davison went on to serve a penalty for the contact, and now the EFFORT Racing team finds itself in a race to make the grid in next weekend’s PWC doubleheader in St. Petersburg, FL.

Long commented, “I had a big hit at the start from behind. I haven’t seen the video yet, so it’s hard to process the emotion. The main thing is that Porsche builds us a safe race car. I’m okay, I just feel for our guys. The whole crew worked their tails off for us this weekend. We’re in a race against time for St. Petersburg, but I’m confident I have not only 110% effort from this crew, but Porsche is here and willing to do whatever it takes. I feel good about our chances of being on the grid for Practice 1 at St. Pete, and we’ll just turn our focus forward. It’s a long championship and we’ve got a great project here and I think we’re going to come back from this stronger than before.”

2016 - PWC - Circuit of The Americas