Long back in prototype for Petit Lemans It’s hard to believe that it has been more than 18 months since Patrick Long last completed a racing lap for Penske Racing. But it has been that long, which made the sight of America’s lone Porsche factory pilot behind the wheel of a Porsche RS Spyder all the more refreshing.
The native Californian will pair with Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas for Penske at the 10th running of Petit Le Mans, the cornerstone event of the American Le Mans Series.
When last we saw Long in Penske attire at Sebring in the spring of 2006, he was on his way to a sixth-place finish in class with Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas. The trio had led the LMP2 class early before a seventh-hour retirement due to a broken input shaft.
Following that race, Long moved back to Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing, where he helped Jörg Bergmeister clinch a second straight GT2 championship and won three times along the way. His duties in the American Le Mans Series this year have come in GT2 with Tafel Racing (at Sebring), and with Flying Lizard Motorsports and Darren Law at Long Beach and Detroit.
“It’s been two years since I’ve raced the RS Spyder so I’m really looking forward to it,” said Long, who has won in GT2 at Petit the last two years with Petersen/White Lightning. “This car is performing so much more consistently since I last raced it.”
That’s for sure. In addition to leading the class championship heading into Petit Le Mans, Bernhard and Dumas have won overall six times this year including the last three events. They lead Penske teammates Sascha Maassen and Ryan Briscoe by 37 points heading into Road Atlanta, and a sixth-place class finish or better will wrap up the P2 crown.
“Not only is it a chance for another class win but it is a realistic shot at an overall win,” Long said. “For me it’s less about winning and more about helping these guys secure a championship.”
The 10th running of Petit Le Mans, the annual 1,000-mile/10-hour endurance classic at Road Atlanta, is set for 11:15 a.m. ET on Saturday, October 6. SPEED will provide live coverage from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and again from 6:30 to 10 p.m. American Le Mans Radio and IMSA’s Live Timing and Scoring will be available at www.americanlemans.com.