‘Adapt and overcome’ proved to be the unofficial mantra for Wright Motorsports at this weekend’s Detroit Grand Prix. At the end of the 100-minute street shootout, the Ohio-based group saw a ninth place result for the No. 16 Porsche 911 GT3 R of Mike Schein and Wolf Henzler and an eleventh place finish for the No. 58 of Patrick Long and Christina Nielsen.
With only two short caution-induced practice sessions to lean on, every second spent on track was imperative for the drivers to get into the rhythm and the Wright Motorsports team to dial in on the setup of their Porsche 911 GT3 R’s. Adding another curve-ball to the mix, Detroit showed competitors a variety of weather conditions, ranging from rainy and high temps on Friday, to cloudy skies and much cooler temps on race day.
Despite the limited track time, Schein had no problem adjusting to the narrow 14-turn street course. At the start of the race the New Yorker got a speedy launch from his eighth place starting slot and found himself in a slew of battles among mixed classes. At the 40-minute mark, he pitted from ninth and handed the No. 16 off to Henzler, who was tasked at defending the position from a charging Andy Lally. Despite Henzler’s quick pace, traffic and the lack of cautions prevented him from advancing, but allowed him to build a healthy gap in his ninth place finishing position.
It was a similar story for Nielsen, who’s opening stint saw the No. 58 Porsche immersed into two tight GTD battles. The Porsche Select driver brought the Porsche as high as sixth place, before passing the controls over to Long after 40 minutes. Once at the helm, Long cycled back into the eleventh place slot. From there, he began pounding down quick laps, hoping for a full-course yellow, but unfortunately it never materialized and he crossed the finish line in eleventh place.
The IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship is set for a brief intermission before heading to the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen at Watkins Glen, June 29 – July 1.
Patrick Long // Driver, No. 58 Porsche Consulting/Porsche Digital, Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R – “I’m proud of the team’s effort. Unfortunately, things were pretty uneventful during my stint. I just soldiered on and tried to turn consistent lap times. We were hoping for a yellow. There a was a lot of debris on track and even some larger wildlife so we were hoping it would come, but it just never did. With that, we just kept our noses clean and pushed as hard as we could.”
Christina Nielsen // Driver, No. 58 Porsche Consulting/Porsche Digital, Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R – “Detroit is normally one of the highlights of the year for me. Unfortunately, the highlight fades when you don’t finish with a good result. It takes a lot of work, both from the engineer and the driver, to come to a place where you feel like you’re really in control and comfortable when you’re racing between concrete walls. Towards the end, when the tires and the fuel went down a little bit and things started to feel better, the balance of the car turned around and became very nice, and I finally felt that control. Unfortunately, it wasn’t that way before the end of the stint. We were hoping for a yellow, but it didn’t play out like we wanted it to. I still feel like there were things we learned that will be useful for when we go to the next track, Watkins Glen. But, I’m now focused on the official Le Mans test which takes place on Sunday.”
Mike Schein // Driver, No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R – “It definitely wasn’t the result we were looking for. I started eighth and struggled a bit with the tires taking time to come up to pressure. I handed the car to Wolf in ninth and we had a little mistake in the driver change, so that set us back. Being a street circuit it’s such a hard place to pass. We certainly had the pace to do so, but unfortunately the circuit doesn’t allow it. At the end of the day, I definitely want to tip my hat to Wright Motorsports. I had a bit of an off in Practice so they had to scramble to get the car ready for qualifying, so a huge thanks to the guys. I’m really excited for CTMP- a track that I know well- so hopefully we can shoot for a strong result there.”
Wolf Henzler // Driver, No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R – “Looking at the big picture, I would say it was a good race for us. The crew had a great pit stop and Mike had a very strong stint. I think he should be very happy because this was his first time here and he had very limited track time, but got up to speed very quickly. When I got in for my stint, I was ninth when I got stuck behind another car and there was just no way for me to pass. Ninth definitely isn’t what we were hoping for, but there was unfortunately not much more for us this weekend. Thank you to the team for doing a great job; I’m looking forward to CTMP.”
Source. Wright Motorsports