Patrick Long says he’s thrilled to be back in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship this weekend after getting a late call-up to join Alegra Motorsports for the Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park.
The Porsche factory ace has been busy with Wright Motorsports in Pirelli World Challenge, where he currently leads the GT points standings, since his last IMSA start at the 24 Hours of Daytona with CORE autosport, and got the call from Porsche saying that he would be making the trip to Connecticut just five days ago while on another continent.
“I was in Silverstone over the weekend for the Formula 1 British Grand Prix, and I had a phone call on Monday,” Long told Sportscar365. “My flight wasn’t until Tuesday into Los Angeles. It was a bit of a scramble!
“I’ve known [Alegra team owner] Carlos [de Quesada] for over a decade and I’ve followed their progression up. They’ve been doing an amazing job this year starting at Daytona.
“Lime Rock, Alegra, it was an easy decision for me. I’ll be going to Mid-Ohio next weekend for my normal drive, so I just had to make a few changes on the travel schedule, but it was a quick decision.”
Long said a career spent jumping between different Porsche teams, often on short notice, has made it easier to get acclimated with a new group of engineers and co-drivers when the need arises.
“It’s plug and play,” said Long. “In the 15 years I’ve been inside of motorsport, I’ve met most of these mechanics at some team I’ve driven for.
“Going back to Carlos and [race engineer] Larry [Hahn], Larry was an engineer at PTG when I was with them at the end of 2001.
“Working with him is great. He looks the same, he’s just as sharp and laid back as he was back then, so it’s easy for me to fit right in.
“Culturally, I used to live in Clearwater, Florida which is where this team is based near Tampa. They’ve supported our charity kart race that we do following the Sebring 12 Hours, so it’s fun to join them.
“Plus I love coming to Lime Rock. I’ve missed this event specifically the last couple of years, and it’s good to be back.”
While there are no current plans to see Long behind the wheel of the No. 28 Porsche 911 GT3 for Alegra, Long said being back at Lime Rock has brought back great memories all around.
“It’s a great time to be over here, and Lime Rock is a special place,” he said.
“It’s a place that Porsches have been pretty strong at in the past and there’s been lots of great fan interaction this week: guys telling me about their first memory back to the 996 days battling the Risi Ferraris or the great victories in the Flying Lizard days here.
“It’s been fun to come back. Obviously we were here just over a month ago with the PWC, so good to come back to get another stab at it.”
An added benefit for Long, who has taken an active role in Porsche’s efforts to cultivate young driving talent, is the chance to work with two up-and-comers in his co-driver Daniel Morad, as well as Michael de Quesada who has driven with the team previously and is currently third in the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Canada championship.
“We had Daniel come through our young driver program a couple of years ago when we tested some young guys from different championships,” said Long. “Lots of speed. He’s very ambitious and wants to learn.
“And Michael De Quesada is here, and you can tell he’s into it. He reads up on it. He knows the results, he knows the drivers, and obviously he’s doing a great job in the GT3 Cup Challenge so I’m keeping an eye on him as well.
“It’s full circle. I’ve raced and worked with Carlos, and now to work with his son, that’s great as well.”