Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course is a track that’s known for both it’s challenges and strengths. No strangers to the road-course, Wright Motorsports certainly wouldn’t be the first team to confirm that. The Batavia, Ohio based team has rolled out of a caution-free sprint race at their home track with a seventh place finish for Patrick Long and Christina Nielsen and an eleventh place for Mike Schein and Wolf Henzler.
After sealing the seventh place starting slot, a great race start allowed Nielsen to maintain her position in the midst of a high stakes battle with the No. 63 Ferrari of Cooper MacNeil. Despite it being only her second race at the 2.4 mile, 15-turn road course, the Dane was able to hold her ground through tense conditions before handing the the No. 58 Porsche 911 GT3 R off to Long in eighth place at the 45-minute mark.
From there, the battle was on once again with the No. 63 Ferrari, which was now being wheeled by a charging Alessandro Balzan. It didn’t take long for the Porsche factory driver to maneuver his way back up to seventh, where he spent the remaining hour and 40-minutes defending his position. Despite his quick and consistent pace, the absence of a yellow flag prevented Long from advancing further, which resulted in a hard-fought seventh place finish for the No. 58 Porsche.
Showing tremendous strength in his WeatherTech Championship debut, Schein was able to maintain his ninth place qualifying position at the start, while remaining calm under the pressure of traffic. Unfortunately, it was only 15-minutes into the race when the No. 16 was clipped by a GTD competitor heading into Turn 2, which set him back several positions. Despite the adversity, the New Yorker continued hitting his marks and passed the controls off to Henzler, who picked up right where he left off.
The German began knocking off tenths of seconds before trouble struck again. With one hour and 30 minutes remaining, the No. 16 Porsche pitted for an unscheduled stop, where the team discovered a piece of debris that had been lodged under the throttle pedal, preventing the gas from being depressed fully. After a quick fix by the Wright Motorsports team, it didn’t take time for Henzler to get back up to speed, but at this point the Porsche had lost a lap and was unable to recover from where it ultimately saw the checkered flag in eleventh place.
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will be back Saturday, June 2, for the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic in Detroit. The 100-minute race will feature the Prototype and GT Daytona classes only.
Patrick Long // Driver, No. 58 Porsche Consulting/Porsche Digital Porsche 911 GT3 R – “It was a great effort by the Wright Motorsports team today. The level of competition in this field means that we’re going to have to fight for every position until the end of the year and see where it all pans out. I’m proud that everyone hit their marks. We needed a yellow to get back into the fight, but I think we had a top-five car, so we’ll use that as motivation and move onto Detroit.”
Christina Nielsen // Driver, No. 58 Porsche Consulting/Porsche Digital Porsche 911 GT3 R – “We’ve really gotten closer within Wright Motorsports, though we’ve only had three races together. I really feel comfortable with this group. I know where I need to improve, and I also feel like the team improves internally when I do. We communicated very well with the challenges we had during this race, and we got through it all together. We finished with decent points, but we of course want better, and we’ve still got our eyes on the podium.”
Mike Schein // Driver, No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R – “I’m happy to have made it through my first IMSA WeatherTech Championship race cleanly. At the green flag the GTD field was very spread out so we were not able to make up any spots. We slotted into 9th and were running there comfortably. I got hit by a car in turn 2 and that dropped me to the back. Wolf took over at around the hour mark and was running strongly. We then had a freak occurrence that saw a piece of debris get lodged under the throttle pedal preventing him from depressing the gas fully. He had to pit and we lost a lap. Unfortunately for us there were no yellows to help us get our lap back. Despite our results today, I think there’s great potential in our Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R. Wolf has been a great co-driver to work with and I’m excited to get going again in Detroit.”
Wolf Henzler // Driver, No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R – “This finish wasn’t what we were hoping for, but from the start of Practice 1, we were always chasing the top guys. The race was solid in the beginning, Mike and Christina held on very well. Unfortunately, Mike got hit by another car who made a misjudgment and we lost a couple of positions. Then I got in and the car felt good. Then I suddenly only had half throttle because something went underneath the peddle so I couldn’t go fast anymore. I had to do a pitstop to fix it, which is what cost us a good position in the end. I’m looking forward to the next event at Detroit.”
Source. Wright Motorsports