After spending a season abroad in the FIA World Endurance Championship, Patrick Long will make a full-season return to North America in 2016.
Long has been named as new driver of the No. 31 EFFORT Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R in the Pirelli World Challenge series, and will replace Ryan Dalziel.
The confirmation of the Thousand Oaks, Calif. native means it’ll be an all-California lineup in the team next season, as he joins Laguna Beach’s Michael Lewis, who returns for a second season in the second car.
For Long, this will mark a return to a series where he’s competed sporadically over three seasons (2005, 2011, 2012). He has five career wins and 12 top-five finishes from 13 career starts, all in the GT class.
He’s coming off a season in the WEC with Dempsey Proton Racing, highlighted by a GTE-Am class win in the Six Hours of Fuji and pole at Circuit of The Americas.
EFFORT, the Chuck Toups-owned and Erin Gahagan-managed team, was arguably one of the star teams in last year’s World Challenge season.
Dalziel won twice and had eight other podium finishes; he could have won the championship had it not been for two WEC conflicts that meant he missed three races and fell to third in points. Renger van der Zande won one of his two starts filling in.
Lewis, meanwhile, starred early and often with two top-five finishes in the first five races earning him a bump up from GTA to GT classification, and seven other top-six finishes netting him eighth in the final points standings.