Long Road to Success
Long Road to Success
Porsche’s Patrick Long on the Road to Stardom
Once one of several promising young upstarts, Porsche’s Patrick Long continues to set himself apart from the pack as he grows into a major American star in international sports car racing.
A native of Southern California now living in Belleaire, Florida, Long moved to Europe at age 17 to pursue his racing career. Good move.
Now 29 and a Porsche factory driver since 2003, Long has 18 ALMS victories, including three already this season, three MICHELIN® GREEN X® Challenge wins, and a pair of American Le Mans Series driver championships.
On the international scene, Long who is now fluent in four languages, has a pair of GT2 victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans; three at Petit Le Mans, and victories at both the Twelve Hours of Sebring and the
Daytona 24 Hours.
That makes him the youngest driver to claim that “grand slam” of major endurance races.
Surprisingly, Long may just be reaching his racing peak as he takes an increasingly visible role on and off the track.
His Flying Lizard Porsche teammates laud his ability to focus as he smoothly shifts from driving to meeting with his engineers, coaching young drivers, spending time with fans, encouraging teammates, and promoting Porsche, the Flying Lizard team, the ALMS and motorsports in general.
That focus, combined with his talent and a powerful work ethic has served him well.
In fact, that makes Long second only to Corvette Racing’s Johnny O’Connell (age 48), among the most successful American drivers in the American Le Mans Series.
Reunited in 2009 with German sports car ace Joerg Bergmeister in the popular #45 Lizard Porsche, the duo claimed the ALMS championship and continues its winning ways in 2010 by securing three victories (Long Beach, Laguna Seca and Lime Rock) and leading the 2010 ALMS GT Drivers’ championship heading to Road America.
Twice already this season, Long, nicknamed “Yankee” by other Porsche factory drivers, has made a dramatic late race pass to win the races at Long Beach and again at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
“I don’t think that there is any question that Pat is really on his game this year. He is also having more fun,” said one team insider.
When not training, surfing, or sea kayaking, the only American Porsche factory driver is busy with Porsche’s worldwide motorsports activities including competition, testing, development, and public relations.
Committed to the fans, Long realizes that his responsibility does not end at the checkered flag.
He and co-driver Joerg Bergmeister were seen visiting with fans, signing autographs, and posing for pictures well into darkness following their win at Long Beach. At autograph sessions, Long does not merely scratch his name on a hero card, but makes it a point to talk with and connect with every fan.
“The competition is so strong that you have to keep pushing to constantly improve,” said Long.
“If you want to win today, you have to be better than you were yesterday.”
And Patrick Long just keeps getting better every day.
This story appears in the Road America issue of The Alley, Michelin’s trackside publication, and can be picked up around the paddock at the track. The full issue can be downloaded as a PDF from the “The Alley: In Print” section of michelinracingusa.com.