TruSpeed Motorsports had a packed weekend of racing at Mid-Ohio, qualifying and racing twice over three days. In qualifying for Saturday’s round 7 of the 2011 Pirelli World Challenge Championship, Patrick Long put the #45 PrivacyStar Porsche on pole, as Tomy Drissi qualified 8th and Rob Morgan 9th.
Due to the series rules, Long ran Saturday’s race with 148lbs. of “success ballast” – meant to equalize the competition – on top of 80lbs. that all the Porsches in the field were mandated, giving him the extra weight of a passenger sitting in the car with him. At the start, the all-wheel drive Volvo of Alex Figge got the jump on Long’s rear wheel drive Porsche and the rear wheel drive Corvette of Patrick Lindsey, rocketing from 3rd to the lead before turn one. Long cycled back to p4 during the race as he struggled to maintain momentum through traffic with his heavy car, but a late-race incident between Patrick Lindsey and Johnny O’Connell in his Cadillac promoted Long to 2nd, with erstwhile championship leader James Sofronas claiming 3rd position. The race, scheduled for 50 minutes, was shortened to only 24 laps by three caution periods, and while the race would finish under caution, Long’s 2nd place was enough to eclipse Sofronas and assume the championship lead, despite missing round 4 at Miller Motorsports Park.
Tomy Drissi, in his first race for TruSpeed Motorsports, scored a season-best 5th place in the #47 In Time / TruSpeed Porsche, while Rob Morgan finished 7th in the #46 Entrust / TruSpeed Porsche, each gaining solid manufacturer points for Porsche in the championship.
In Sunday’s race, round 8, Patrick Long had an additional 48lbs. of “success ballast” added to his car, ballooning the total additional weight of his car to 196lbs. plus 80lbs. of series-mandated weight. Despite the massive ballast, he qualified the #45 Privacy Star Porsche 2nd as on a clear track, he was able to maintain momentum through the many corners of Mid-Ohio. In Sunday’s race, the weight penalty showed its effect as Long was freight-trained in traffic, unable to keep momentum through turns and with higher horsepower Cadillacs and Corvettes pulling away substantially out of corners and on straightaways. Long’s experience and intelligence as a racer paid off, however, as he kept his nose clean throughout the many incidents in the race, including the last-lap incident between Alex Figge’s Volvo and Mike Skeen’s Corvette, which took both out of the race.
Long’s closest championship contender, James Sofronas, had an off in qualifying for Sunday’s race and was forced to change all four tires, and start from the back of the grid. As it happened, TruSpeed’s Tomy Drissi and Rob Morgan engaged in a race-long battle of their own with Sofronas behind them, allowing Long to stay out front and pull away from James in the championship. With his 4th place finish, Long now leads Sofronas 840-796, with four races left in the season.
Patrick said, “I think we’re only 7 pounds under the maximum ‘success’ penalty weight, and you can really feel it in the car. The TruSpeed boys gave me a great racecar this weekend and as a team, Rob, Tomy and I are really helping each other, sharing data on the cars and trying to collectively raise our game. The all-wheel drive Volvos really have an advantage during the standing starts, and the Corvettes in particular really have a horsepower advantage, but the great thing about the Pirelli World Challenge is the diversity of the competition – everyone’s got advantages and disadvantages, and that makes racing here pretty unpredictable.”
Team Manager Tyler Tadevic commented, “Coming into this weekend, the goal was to get solid results for all three cars and for Patrick to take the championship lead, and we were able to achieve both of those goals. Adding a third car for Tomy is a lot of extra logistical work, but I’m proud of our guys for handling it so well. At this point in the year, we’re thinking championship more than individual race wins, so it was great to see Patrick race in such a heads-up, intelligent way. The penalty weight that we’ve got on all three cars – especially Patrick’s – is a huge handicap relative to our competition, and it asks a ton of the tires. As they say, ‘you can’t beat horsepower,’ and despite the disadvantage we have to some of the competition, we managed to get Patrick the championship lead on Saturday, then extend it on Sunday. We’ve got four races left so it’s still all to play for, but we’re going to approach each race methodically and keep our eyes on the prize: winning the championships.”
TruSpeed Motorsports and the Pirelli World Challenge Series race next August 26-28, 2011 at Infineon Raceway, in California’s Wine Country. Live streaming of rounds 9 and 10 will be live at https://www.world-challengetv.com
TruSpeed Motorsports wishes to thank its 2011 sponsors and partners. For more information, visit:
NADA Guide: https://www.nadaguides.com
Merrill Lynch: https://ml.com
TruSpeed Motorsports was founded in 2001 by Rob and Charles Morgan, over the years racing in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge and World Challenge. TruSpeed runs a robust arrive-and-drive and trackday business, as well as a street and race car sales and service facility in Orange County, California.
For information about TruSpeed’s racing, performance car sales and service, visit: https://www.truspeedmotorcars.com