Throughout the year, Continental Tire will focus on celebrating the fans, media, drivers, and teams and their contributions to sports car racing, including a weekly trip down memory lane in Sportscar365’s Continental Tire IMSA Reflections series.
This week, Wright Motorsports driver Patrick Long reflects on Continental’s involvement in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, appearing on the Dinner With Racers podcast, and more.
What stands out to you about Continental’s involvement in IMSA and your time spent racing on their product?
“I think there’s definitely been a sense of forward progress.
“I went away from the championship and the last time I ran full time on the Continental would have been 2013 and coming back full time this year, with a few races in between, there’s been a big progression with the tire.
“It has come both in stability and construction and also in overall grip. That’s always nice as a driver to feel progress when there’s not a tire war, per se.
“The incentive was self driven, which is great.”
What does it say about Continental that there was the internal push to improve?
“It’s not an easy situation because with the different car manufacturers with different objectives, so everybody wants a tire that’s more built around their needs.
“There are a lot of balls in the air. I did some testing preseason in 2018 at Sebring and I’ve had great interactions.”
You were a part of one of Continental’s biggest fan initiatives, the Dinner With Racers podcast. How was that experience?
“It was great! They have a big hand in the show and I really enjoyed those guys and that experience and continuing to follow the additional season of the show since I was on it in Season 1.”
How would you assess your season so far?
“I’m not sugarcoat it: it’s been disappointing.
“A racer is really only willing to accept a dominating spirit and even in that spirit you’re still striving for more because you know the competition is doing the same.
“In this case, we haven’t really factored in this whole season. The closest we came was in the final few hours of Sebring where we came from a ways down.
“We had a good race mid-race and I was able to climb back up with some good strategy and lucky breaks with yellows, plus good pace.
“Daytona was a disastrous start, though, and Mid-Ohio and Detroit we just haven’t had the pace to battle in the top five. There’s many factors that go into that and it is what it is.
“You do the best with what you have and that’s all you can do.”