St. Pete GP and

March 20, 2009

Coming off of a stirring 4th-place finish at the 12 Hours of Sebring — a race which saw Patrick and his teammates Jörg Bergmeister and Marc Lieb survive two big incidents and several laps lost in the pits — Patrick and Flying Lizard Motorsport are headed to the streets of St. Petersburg, FL for Round 2 of the American Le Mans Series this weekend.

Long has made his home in the Tampa / St. Petersburg area for the past couple of years, so with a visit to Long Beach coming up in two weeks, the SoCal native gets to run two “home” races back to back.

Over the next 10 hours, both Lizard Porsches cycled through their drivers, who patiently worked their way up from the back of the field. The 12-hour race had only three cautions, making it more difficult to find opportunities to regain lost laps or gain time in the pits. But by hour 10, the No. 45 Porsche was in fourth (Bergmeister, Patrick Long and Marc Lieb) and the No. 44 (Neiman, Darren Law, and Johannes van Overbeek) had recovered to fifth, with the No. 45 (Marc Lieb) having set the fastest race lap of 2:02.494.

“A street course can be a good equalizer among teams and classes of cars. The different classes of cars handle very differently, obviously. But a street course, with its low grip corners (versus the fast straights and high speed corners of a road course) is probably the closest the prototype and GT classes will come to each other in terms of driving style and line. A street course also picks up grip over the weekend and changes frequently depending on who has been on track so setup here is a moving target. And of course, it”s a temporary course so no one can claim a home court advantage. For me personally, street courses have always been a strong point so I’;m looking forward to racing here. I recently relocated to the Tampa area, so it’s nice to be close to home. St. Pete has a great ambience, racing around the harbor; an American version of racing at Monaco.”

Patrick”s third column is up at, click here to read his description of driving a Porsche RS Spyder vs. a Porsche 911 GT3RSR.

“The key to running competitively in a GT2 car is running consistently through grace rather than brutality,” he said. “In a lower-speed corner, there’s a fundamental limit in terms of mechanical grip that either type of car produces, but in the high-speed corners, it’s really a case of bravest man wins in a prototype. That’s not to discredit how hard you have to push a GT2 car in a shorter race — at a race like Sebring there’s just a slightly different approach needed. The heat and track surface means you can’t quite hustle as hard as a prototype may allow you, but you are still on the gas!”

TV coverage of the Acura Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will be LIVE on ABC at 1:30pm EDT on Saturday, April 4.

Patrick’s Porsche Club of America blog continues, at: