The longer the wait, the sweeter the triumph. Wright Motorsports proved just that after Patrick Long and Christina Nielsen drove the No. 58 Porsche Consulting / Porsche Digital Porsche 911 GT3 R to a breakthrough win at Road America. This marks the Batavia, Ohio-based squad’s first win in GTD competition and Porsche’s 22nd in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
The John Wright-led team picked up exactly where they left things at Lime Rock Park after Long drove the No. 58 Porsche to the pole position in Saturday afternoon’s qualifying session. A brilliant start by the Californian boosted the group’s momentum that much more, allowing the Porsche to maintain the lead during the opening laps of the race.
After 45-minutes, Long pitted to hand the reins over to Nielsen, where she broke back into the field in third place. From there the Dane began throwing down flying laps, running consistently quicker than the two cars in front of her.
With an hour left on the clock, Nielsen dove back into the pits for another full service stop, just moments before a full course caution was called. At this point, the No. 58 Porsche, along with the No. 48 Lamborghini of Bryan Sellers, were the only ones who made it into the pits before they closed.
When Long reentered the race, the green flag came back out, allowing the rest of the field to pit and the Porsche factory driver to advance to second place. From there, it was game on.
After just two heated laps, a flawless move into Turn 1 sent Long around Sellers and back into the GTD lead. From there, Long continued to control the field, stretching his margin to 3.6-seconds, before taking the checkered flag and earning the GTD-class win for Wright Motorsports.
After brushing off the dust on a trying start to the season, Wright Motorsports’ momentum couldn’t be stronger. They look forward to rejoining the IMSA WeatherTech Championship for Round 9 at VIRginia International Raceway August 16-19.
Patrick Long | Driver, No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R -“We’ve waited a long time for this, so it definitely makes it sweeter. Coming off of a disappointing run two weeks ago, we all banded together as a team to make this happen. The focus and motivation in the atmosphere was the highest it’s been all season and that says a lot about the organization. The race itself had a lot more yellows than we expected, which that always makes you nervous because you’re thinking about how the strategy should be. Fortunately, everyone just kept their cool and hit their marks. The car was phenomenal. I honestly don’t remember having a car that had that perfect of a balance in a long, long time, so I have to give credit to the whole organization on the setup and speed. We’ll try to carry this to VIR.”
Christina Nielsen | Driver, No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R – “We’ve been waiting for this for a long time and everything finally came together this weekend. A race track is a living creature; everything changes with different conditions and different weather. You may have information from the year before, but you can never guarantee that it’s going to be that good. This was a testament to the team and how well they did. Patrick did a great job putting it on pole, the car was amazing to drive, the strategy, the pitstops- everything was perfect. The fact that our first podium ended up being a victory was just, perfection.”
Source. Wright Motorsports