AUSTIN, Tex. – This weekend at the Pirelli World Challenge season opening double header at Circuit of the Americas, EFFORT Racing earned Porsche Motorsports its first win for the newest generation of the Porsche 911 GT3 R. After only one week of taking delivery of two brand new race cars, the team captured the win and a top ten finish with drivers Patrick Long and Michael Lewis.
Porsche Works Driver Patrick Long started Round 1 at Circuit of the Americas from Pole Position, after an impressive qualifying session the day prior. The field went green, and Long kept the lead as the field exited turn one, but later that lap, the No. 5 Nissan of Bryan Heitkotter passed for the lead position. For the remaining 35 minutes of the race, Long stayed close to the field leader, never letting him pull away of from the pack. With just eight minutes left on the clock, Long attacked and perfectly executed the pass for the lead on the Nissan. Shortly after, the two drivers approached lapped traffic, allowing Long to pull away and create a 1.744 second lead with just four minutes to go. The seasoned veteran kept expanding his gap until he crossed the finish line, giving EFFORT Racing the first win of the season.
Co-driver Michael Lewis started the first Round in 9th, and raced cautiously in the opening laps, careful to avoid the typical early race chaos. Lewis battled for 6th post of the race, holding off McLaren GT driver Alvaro Parente. Parente eventually took the position, but unfazed, Lewis stayed close to fight for the position. He finished 7th, gaining two positions during the opening event.
Round 2 of the sprint racing event took a different turn from the previous day’s excitement. A crash in the opening lap resulted in Pat Long’s early retirement. Michael Lewis and the No. 41 Porsche continued as the team’s hope for a podium finish, but contact and a spin sent him to the rear of the field shortly after the restart. Lewis restarted the engine and rejoined the field in 32nd position. Over the course of the remaining green flag time, he worked his way through the field to finish to 20th position.
Rounds 3 and 4 of the Pirelli World Challenge will take place at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg March 11 – 13th. For more information, visit world-challenge.com
Patrick Long // No. 31 Porsche 911 GT3 R
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 we’ll 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.
Michael Lewis // No. 41 Porsche 911 GT3 R
It was a pretty though day for the team. I’m happy Patrick Long is okay. He took a hard hit at the beginning of the race. From my side, I was just racing hard after that first restart. I was in a good position and just came together with some contact that occurred in turn two and that sent me spinning high speed. I lost control and luckily everybody got though okay. I had to restart the car as fast as possible. It’s a tough day for the team, especially with the highs of yesterday, and both of our drives today not being the best. Again, glad Patrick is okay. Hopefully that 31 car gets built up quickly for next week. Despite all that,, Congratulations to Patrick Long and the EFFORT Racing Team on winning the first race of the year, and also to Porsche for the first win of the Porsche 911 GT3 R 2016 edition. It was a great return for Patrick to the series, so congratulations to him.
About EFFORT Racing
Pirelli World Challenge team EFFORT Racing was founded in 2012 with a simple goal: to be Champions, both on and off the racetrack. In doing so, EFFORT seeks not only to win races, but to spread an uplifting and encouraging message of hope. The team strives to infuse God’s integrity and standards into the passionate and exciting world of racing. At EFFORT Racing, every member of our team comes to win. From our drivers, to our crew, to the folks behind the scenes, the EFFORT Racing family knows that every member of our team is crucial to a winning racing organization.