Patrick Long will return to Wright Motorsports for the 2017 Pirelli World Challenge season, it was announced Saturday, which will see America’s only Porsche factory driver again put his focus on the North American sprint race championship.
The 35-year-old Californian, who lost this year’s title following a final-lap incident in the title-decider at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, will contest the entire ten-weekend Sprint and SprintX championship in Wright’s Porsche 911 GT3 R.
Long’s co-driver for the five SprintX races have yet to be announced.
“I am grateful to be back with the Wright Motorsports group for a full crack at this Pirelli World Challenge championship,” Long said.
“There were lots of story lines in 2016 from our season, and each has brought us only closer and more focused as a tight-knit team.
“The championship will only be stronger in ’17, and this is a massive help to get this effort inked nice and early. Let’s do this!”
Long scored two victories and five top-five finishes with the John Wright-led squad this year, having joined the team mid-season following the withdrawal of EFFORT Racing following the fourth round at Barber Motorsports Park.
“We finished the ’16 season with a lot of momentum but a final result that left more to be desired,” said John Wright. “I’m glad we have the green light for 2017 so we can finish our business we started.”
It is the second Pro class Porsche confirmed for PWC, following GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing’s switch from McLaren to the 911 GT3 R with Jon Fogarty for the five-round Sprint championship, plus the Circuit of The Ameircas SprintX round.
“Success is built on attention to detail and continuity,” said Porsche Motorsport North America President Jens Walther. “Wright Motorsports has a proven approach, missing the Pirelli World Challenge GT and GTA titles in the slimmest way possible in 2016.
“Clearly, there is unfinished business here in both classes. John is returning with the key elements of the team and the sole focus on finishing what was started last season.
“The competition will be even more intense, and we look forward to another exciting season of World Challenge.”