Patrick Long admitted that he had to “swallow his pride” in the closing stages of the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen after being unable to convert a commanding run into GT Daytona class victory or even a podium finish for Wright Motorsports.
Long took the team’s No. 16 Porsche 911 GT3 R to an eighth place class result after combining with co-drivers Trent Hindman and Jan Heylen to lead a race-high 93 laps in the third round of the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup.
The Porsche factory driver appeared to be en route to the team’s first victory of the season until a late-race yellow that also impacted the outcome of the DPi race.
The top three cars on the final restart, including the eventual class-winning No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3, all made their final pit stops just prior to the yellow and were able to capitalize on strategy, with Long and others fighting for positions in traffic.
“I’m disappointed with the end result. It’s not reflective of everyone’s efforts today,” said Long.
“Unfortunately, where that yellow fell, it was a game of track position. We couldn’t convert on the first five hours of the day, and we just battled as hard as we could at the end there.
“The No. 14 Lexus, the No. 9 Porsche, and ourselves were locked in, thinking the other cars would fade or run low on fuel, but that never happened.
“These are the days where you don’t win championships, but you can sure lose them trying do something that isn’t.
“I had to swallow my pride there at the end and bring the car home.”
Hindman, making his first start with Wright since being announced as its new full-season co-driver, said the team didn’t make a mistake all race.
“Our execution on pit lane was unreal,” he said. “No penalties, no mistakes, just an unfortunate situation with a horribly timed yellow for us.
“Once you get shuffled back in the order with 40 minutes to go on a high-speed track, you really have to wait for people to make mistakes to move forward. It was bad luck all around.”
Hawksworth: “It Was Hard to Pass Out There”
While not having the ultimate pace of the Wright Porsche all day, the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Racing Lexus RC F GT3 was another contender to lose out due to the late yellow according to Jack Hawksworth.
The class pole-sitting entry ended up with a sixth place finish, unrepresentative of its pace earlier in the race.
“We had a really good battle with the 16 car,” said Hawksworth. “We were able to jump him a couple of stops before the end to allow a little bit of a gap and we felt like we were in really good position if the race stayed green.
“We were in great position and we were in control of the race, but then a yellow came out and unfortunately.
“We had a bit of an issue with the fuel probe during our pit stop. We didn’t pit before the yellow and some cars had so we cycled back to seventh.
“It was so hard to pass out there. Once you were in the train there was nothing you could do.
“It’s impossible to pass at this track, but we were able to pass Patrick Long in the 16 and finish sixth.
“Another one just slips away. The Vasser Sullivan guys did a good job, and we were there again right until the end. Everything needs to go right in these races and we just missed out today.”