Driver Spotlight: Patrick Long
Driver, No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR
After the team’s big win in Daytona, is there a lot of momentum carrying into Sebring?
“It’s a morale booster that a new program like this needs. It’s always a hustle to get a lot of people pulling in the same direction for such a sizable effort. There was a lot of pressure to perform after a somewhat challenging Roar. It’s absolutely the energy we need to build on going into Sebring and then getting into the groove for the full year.”
Do you feel the level of competition has increased in GTLM this year?
“The variables with BMW and SRT getting their second full season with their current car and Corvette bringing an evolution of an already very strong package, and of course our latest RSR being introduced, I see it as building from what I think is some of the best GT racing in the world. Everybody’s pushing each other. It’s no longer about having the strongest lap times but putting together a flawless race. We saw that last year. There were lots of battles that came down to track position because the competition is so tight. This year is going to be tougher than anything that’s ever been, in my opinion.”
Is the new Porsche 911 RSR a big change driving-wise, compared to the 997-based GT3 RSR that you drove last year?
“It’s difficult to say at this point because Daytona is so unique setup-wise, and the way that the track demands the driver to perform. I tested the car at Sebring and felt that it really suits my driving style even more than our previous gen. It’s certainly a different driving style but the way the aerodynamics work are much more of what I had hoped for, which is a car that responds more like a prototype, with more speed carried into the high-speed corners creating a linear improvement of downforce. This is what I felt some of our competition had in their cars in the past couple of seasons but I think we’re now on par with making real efficient aero.”
You recently took part in the Bathurst 12 Hour. How was the track?
“I guess I’m still in the honeymoon stages with Mount Panorama because I’m sort of thinking this is my new favorite track in the world. It’s just a blend of high speed, really tricky technical sections with zero margin for error. That’s just a huge differentiator that not any of the modern tracks have these days. To me, it was a one-third scale Nurburgring Nordschleife. It’s also always an enjoyable experience to race in Australia. I think the racing culture is very unique and blends a lot about what I love about the U.S. and Europe into one culture.”
What are some of your hobbies when you’re away from the track?
“Since I’ve moved back to Southern California, I’ve been able to get back in touch with my roots of where I grew up. That’s a blend of hot-rod culture and air-cooled 911s on the car side and watersports as well. I enjoy stand up paddle boarding and long board surfing with my dad and my friends that I grew up surfing with in high school. And also enjoy spending time with my family. I have a golden retriever and my wife Lauren. We spend a lot of time at the beach and a lot of time on the road bikes training. It’s great to be able to enjoy what I think is the best weather in the country.”