Interview by David Haueter
Photos: David Haueter, Porsche and courtesy Patrick Long
Patrick Long is one of the great success stories in American sportscar racing. Like most Formula One drivers, he started racing karts at an early age, then moved up the European open-wheel ranks into Formula Ford and Formula Renault. He was chosen as one of the final six drivers in the Red Bull Driver Search program in 2002, where he was first recognized by Porsche. In 2003 at the age of 23, he competed in his first season as a Porsche Junior factory driver, racing in the German Carrera Cup and select Supercup and British Carrera Cup races. He competed in his first full season of ALMS in 2004, and has already scored class wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (2004) and the 12 Hours of Sebring (2005). He currently shares the driver's championship lead with co-driver Jörg Bergmeister and the Petersen Motorsports team. We caught up with Patrick a few days before the Portland ALMS race:
TheRaceSite: How did you get into sportscar racing and into the relationship with Porsche as a factory driver?
Long: I was overseas finishing up Formula Ford and was invited to attend a test with Team PTG in 2001. That was my first dip into sportscar racing and I knew then that it was something I really liked - I planned on doing the ALMS in 2002 (before the M3 GTR program was canceled) in addition to Formula Renault. So I was keeping my hand in both types of racing, and looking at my goal of being tied to a manufacturer. I never really thought that I only wanted to drive in F1 or Indy car. To jump ahead, when I did the Red Bull Driver Search, Porsche was there. I struck up a bit of a relationship during the program with Uwe Brettel and Helmut Greiner, who is the head of the Porsche Junior team in Germany. When I was passed up by Red Bull, I got a call from Porsche the next morning to come and test for them, to be in the Junior program.