Patrick Long broke through to claim victory in Saturday’s opening round of Pirelli World Challenge, giving Porsche’s new 911 GT3 R its first ever-win in global competition.
The EFFORT Racing driver edged out the No. 05 Always Evolving Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 of Bryan Heitkotter by 2.107 seconds, following a late-race pass on the Nissan GT Academy graduate.
Heitkotter led the opening 40 minutes after making a massive start, jumping from sixth to first by the first corner and bridging out a narrow gap over the No. 31 Porsche in the early stages.
After keeping Heitkotter within reach, Long attacked with 10 minutes remaining, getting around the Nissan in and bridging out a considerable gap in the closing moments.
It marked Long’s first victory in his return to PWC competition since 2012. He won the 2011 championship.
Heitkotter came home second, ahead of the No. 8 Cadillac ATS-V.R of Michael Cooper, who scored a podium finish in his GT class debut.
Cooper got around the No. 33 Always Evolving Nissan of James Davison for third on the final lap, following a slip-up by Davison in the final corner.
Johnny O’Connell completed the top-five after losing ground on the rolling start, with the No. 9 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S of Alvaro Parente in sixth.
GTA class honors went to Martin Fuentes, who took his No. 07 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 to a dominant class victory.
Fuentes finished 13th overall, some 16 seconds ahead of the No. 46 Mills Racing BMW Z4 GT3 of Michael Mills. Andrew Schein completed the class podium in third.
Alec Uddell claimed the win in GT Cup, after making a pass on the class pole-sitting entry of Sloan Urry through traffic. The GMG Racing driver celebrated his fourth career win.
The 50-minute races featured only a single full-course caution, following an opening lap accident for the No. 90 Autometrics Porsche of Joseph Toussaint, who was stranded on track.
A late-race tangle between Andrew Davis and Jon Fogarty left the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing McLaren also stopped on course but the race was completed without a yellow.
The second and final GT/GTA/GT Cup race of the weekend is set for Sunday at 2:15 p.m. CT.