Patrick Long has claimed victory in the second Pirelli World Challenge GT race of the weekend in St. Pete, in a dominant run for the Porsche factory driver.
Long took his No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R to a 1.475-second win over the No. 3 Cadillac ATS-V.R of Johnny O’Connell, in a two-lap shootout following a late yellow.
It came after frantic opening to the 50-minute race, which saw Long jump from third to first in Turn 1, after a slow start for pole-sitter Alex Riberas, who bunched up the field.
Race 1 winner Alvaro Parente dropped outside of the top-five after driving too deep into Turn 1 at the start, but recovered to run fourth for much of the race in his No. 9 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S GT3.
The defending series champion battled with the No. 8 Cadillac of Michael Cooper on the final lap, with Parente crossing the line fourth, ahead of Cooper in fifth.
Riberas, in his PWC debut weekend, finished third overall in the No. 61 R. Ferri Motorsport Ferrari 488 GT3, having set the race’s fastest lap and pressuring O’Connell for much of the race.
Up front, it was Long’s first PWC win since Canadian Tire Motorsport Park last year, and a Porsche sweep in all three classes, with Alec Udell (GTA) and Preston Calvert (GT Cup) taking class wins.
Udell, who ran as high as fourth overall following the frantic start, settled for a 7th place overall finish in his No. 17 GMG Racing Porsche, sweeping the weekend in class.
Michael Schein (Wright Porsche) and Mike Hedlund (K-PAX McLaren) completed the GTA class podium.
An issue for the No. 007 TRG Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 of James Davison, who stopped on track with less than 10 minutes remaining, resulted in the race’s only full-course caution.
There were, however, other incidents, including an early accident for Peter Kox’s RealTime Racing Acura NSX GT3, as well as a near-miss by the No. 54 Black Swan Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Tim Pappas.
The No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Porsche of Jon Fogarty, meanwhile, didn’t even complete a lap after having an issue on the grid.
RESULTS: GT Race 2