There are great cars, but what about great people? Well, the Porsche driver Patrick Long is one of them! However, a USA Today title states, “American Porsche driver Long long on ability, short on recognition.” And isn’t that the way it is with many talented people?
A supercar race in Australia last year attracted superstar drivers that included Dario Granchitti, Sebastien Bourdais, Ryan Briscoe, Helio Vadtoneves and Will Power. However, Patrick Long raced better than them all by finishing second among the international driers who were invited.
It was indeed vindication for Long who begged for entry, paid his own way to drive, and was rated last among all-stars by the local media coverage. In USA Today Long said, “You can have the gift of gab and the title of factory driver, but you’ve got to make them believe on the track.”
Of note is that Long as a Porsche driver has compiled a sterling record behind the wheel for the last decade as he joined Scott Pruett as part of the most decorated U.S sports car drivers. He has class victories in almost every major car event, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Rolex 24 hours at Daytona and the 12 hours at Sebring (which will open the American Le Mans series season this Saturday). Furthermore, Long is the two-time defending champion in the ALMS GT division.
Fellow driver, Allan McNish, with Audi is quoted in USA Today saying, “He’s developed into one of the best American sports car drivers in a long, long time. I don’t know many that don’t like Patrick.”
Long is described as a renaissance man who become fluent in French, Italian, and German when he lived in Europe – he now lives in Belleair, Florida. Lomg is reported to have visited Washington, DC and lobbied ALMS green racing initiatives to the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency. ALMS president. Scott Atherton was quoted in USA Today as saying, “He deserves more credit. It’s the great untold story of our paddock how good this guy is.”
Atherton further says that Long has been passed over and that the series has pushed its most successful driver. However, with sports cars ranking under NASCAR and IndyCar in the hierarchy of motor sports, Long says it’s a difficult climb.
Long has even invested his own time to spread the gospel by organizing events including the recent ride-along with 100 Porsche owners in Nashville. Long was quoted in USA Today saying, “It’s about giving them something tangible rather than the superhero behind caged bars.”
Long does not seem to mind if he is overshadowed. Briscoe, a Penske driver who shared an apartment with Long in Italy was reported in USA Today as saying, “He’s very grounded a great driver and great person.” Briscoe suggests that NASCAR could be in Long’s future. However, Long, a Thousand Oaks, California native, is dedicated to Porsche.
Long says, “I hope there are more Americans that can help fly the flag to get the sports car name out. It’s certainly a challenge.”
It is indeed good to see a driver that works as hard as we do getting acknowledged as being at the top of his game on as well as off the track!
Visit the slideshow to see Patrick Long on the race track!
Kyle Busch is the author of “Drive the Best for the Price…” He welcomes your comments or car questions at his auto web site: DriveTheBestBook.com . Follow Kyle on Facebook and Twitter.