Wright Motorsports will field a Porsche 911 GT3 R for Patrick Long to drive in the 13 remaining races on the 2016 Pirelli World Challenge schedule, putting the popular Porsche factory driver back in contention for the series' GT drivers championship.
Long has a long-time working relationship with Wright Motorsports and its owner, John Wright, as well as Michael Schein, a rookie who drives a Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R in the Pirelli World Challenge's GTA class and already has three podium finishes in just four starts.
"It's unfortunate how Patrick's program with us came together because we don't want to capitalize on another team's misfortunes, but we've worked with him many times in the past, we know he'll be a great benefit to our team, and we're excited to have him on board," Wright said.
"I also want to thank Michael Schein for committing to campaign a Porsche GT3 R in Pirelli World Challenge this year," Wright said. "That provided the infrastructure we needed to add Patrick's car to our PWC program. Michael and Patrick have also worked together in the past, and they have a great working relationship as well."
"This is a rare chance to take a very difficult situation and quickly turn it around," Long said. "I'm grateful for the opportunity that John and Michael have given me. It's been humbling, and I'm elated to be able to continue in the series with Wright Motorsports.
"I've worked with John in many different programs over the years, and we've had a lot of success together," he added. "It's always great to work with him and his team."
Long is currently fifth in the GT driver point standings. He won the first race of the year at Circuit of the Americas in March, and was also on the podium in round five at Long Beach, Calif. in April.
The 34-year-old driver is one of 15 Porsche factory drivers, and the only North American to hold that distinction. He has driven Porsches to class victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the Petit Le Mans, and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. A resident of Manhattan Beach, Calif., he is a three-time American Le Mans Series GT champion, and he also won the Pirelli World Challenge GT drivers championship in 2011.
The next PWC event is May 19-22 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario.
Wright Motorsports also fields a multi-car effort in the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama series, where it has won the team championship in three of the last four seasons, including 2015.
For more information on Wright Motorsports, see WrightMotorsports.comand follow it on Facebook and Twitter. For more information on the Pirelli World Challenge series, see world-challenge.com. Long's Web site is atPatrickLong.com.
Photo: Patrick Long (Porsche photo)