Long teams with Bergmeister in Pirelli World Challenge SprintX Doubleheader
BOWMANVILLE, Ont., CANADA – There are few times in a racing driver’s career that he or she enjoys a perfect racing weekend.
Last year at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, sports car legend Patrick Long came pretty close to that kind of racing performance.
The 35-year-old veteran from Manhattan Beach, Calif., debuted the No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R at the historic 2.458-mile, 10-turn road circuit northwest of Toronto with a pole-winning speed for the first of two 50-minute GT Sprint races.
Long dominated the opening GT event at CTMP in 2016 by leading all 39 laps and recording the race’s fastest lap (giving him the pole for Sunday’s race) in one of the fastest overall race speeds in Pirelli World Challenge history. PWC is currently in its 28th racing season.
Patrick didn’t let up in the second GT race on Sunday with another dominating performance – race win, led all 30 laps and set fastest race lap.
It was as dominant showing in the GT division as possibly ever seen in the Pirelli World Challenge and Long hadn’t been in the Wright Porsche previously in PWC competition.
Now, the personable California native returns to one of his favorite circuits this weekend (May 19-21) for the annual Pirelli World Challenge doubleheader as part of the Victoria Day Speedfest at CTMP. Long will compete in the No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R once again in 60-minute, two-driver, one pit stop SprintX contests on Saturday and Sunday with his fellow Porsche star Jörg Bergmeister.
“We had a lot of success there last year and will return knowing one another with Wright Motorsports a little better with the addition of some key team members,” said Long, a past winner at legendary venues like Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring. “The biggest shift for us is going to be running in the SprintX format one year later, what demands that puts on the team with added strategy and a second driver. We’re really looking forward to the weekend.”
Long has been a regular at CTMP over his career including runs in series such as ALMS, Grand-Am and IMSA as well as Pirelli World Challenge, a series in which he captured the 2011 GT series championship for Porsche.
While Patrick loves the demands of the fast CTMP road circuit, he also respects the challenges the legendary track provides.
“Canadian Tire Motorsport Park is a very humbling place,” said Long. “It’s fast, blind and old school. It pushes you as a team to be picture perfect and precise in every move from the first lap of the weekend. It’s about having momentum and confidence in order to find your (driving) rhythm, but, once you get it right, there are few places as rewarding as CTMP.”
And Long proved that in his 2016 performance in the Victoria Day Speedfest. Already a winner in 2017 in the streets of St. Petersburg, Patrick currently ranks second in overall GT points to reigning GT champion Alvaro Parente entering this weekend’s doubleheader.
But Long’s longtime driving partner, Bergmeister, is also a regular at CTMP over his storied racing career. The Porsche driving star from Germany has seen victory circle in nearly every North American permanent road racing series including CTMP and Jörg hopes to continue that trend with his teammate Saturday and Sunday in the two 60-minute SprintX GT races.
“CTMP is definitely one of my favorite tracks on the schedule,” said Bergmeister. “It’s super quick and even considering the number of corners, you only need to use the brake three different times. So that just speaks volumes to how fast and flowing the track is. This is the second time that the team has been there with the Porsche 911 GT3 R, so we should have a very good baseline to start with. I’m looking forward to it and hoping that we can repeat the level of success that the team had in 2016.”
Over 100 Pirelli World Challenge entries are set for this weekend’s Victoria Day Speedfest with seven different divisions including 32 outstanding two-driver pairings in the highly-competitive SprintX class with Long and Bergmeister as favorites.
But the two Porsche veterans know the SprintX division includes a stellar lineup of world-class drivers such as Parente and young Ben Barnicoat in the No. 9 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S; Canadian Daniel Morad and Ryan Dalziel in the No. 2 CRP Racing/DeVilbiss Mercedes-AMG GT3; four-time PWC GT champion Johnny O’Connell and 2017 Daytona and Sebring winner Ricky Taylor in the No. 3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-V.R.; Canadian Kyle Marcelli and Alex Riberas in the Toronto-based No. 61 RFerri Motorsport Ferrari 488 GT3; Pierre Kaffer and Spencer Pumpelly in the No. 4 Magnus Racing Audi R8 LMS and Ryan Eversley and Tom Dyer in the No. 43 RealTime Racing Acura NSX GT3.
Practice for the Pirelli World Challenge in the Victoria Day Speedfest at CTMP gets underway on Friday (May 19) with racing set for Saturday (May 20) and Sunday (May 21).