Wright Motorsports Leaves a Bittersweet Grand Prix of Utah with Two Podiums
Tooele, UT. (August 14, 2017) – “You win some and you loose some” is one of the most commonly used phrases in racing and that was very much the case for Wright Motorsports in Rounds 7 and 8 of the SprintX championship at Utah Motorsports Campus. The Ohio-based group started the weekend with a GT-Pro/Am victory for Jan Heylen and Mike Schein and third place podium for Patrick Long and Jörg Bergmeister, then ended it with two unforeseen sixth place finishes. After overcoming a slew of hurdles throughout the opening sessions, the team gave Long a Porsche quick enough to seal himself a solid third place starting position for Race 1. At the start, the Californian was able to comfortably hold onto the position. He then passed the wheel over to Bergmeister, who continued to build a gap and drove the No. 58 Porsche to it’s third SprintX podium in third place. Race 2 started out very promising for the Porsche factory duo. Despite starting from an untraditional fifth place, Bergmeister was able to hand the car off to Long in fourth place. A nicely executed pit strategy allowed Long to renter in third, where he held a comfortable margin until a late race caution bunched the field together. With just three laps remaining, the race went back to green when Long was tagged by a competitor coming out of Turn 5. This ultimately set him back to take the checkered flag in sixth place. Despite the unfortunate ending to the weekend, the results worked to Long’s advantage as the Porsche factory driver has extended his overall championship lead to 5-points over Michael Cooper. After a strong second place qualifying run, Schein had no issues maintaining his position for the start of Race 1. He went on to hand the No. 16 Porsche off to Heylen, who cycled into the class lead. From there, the Belgian was able to build up a five-second gap on the rest of the GT-Pro/Am field and sealed a third consecutive and fourth total SprintX win for himself and Schein.
A very encouraging Race 2 saw a similar run for the No. 16 squad. A strong start by Heylen allowed him to hang onto his second place starting position and pass the car off to Schein who reentered the field in the GT- Pro/Am lead. The Porsche was driven to the win, but unfortunately, due to a rules infraction (minimum pit stop time) that was confirmed post-race, was later demoted to sixth place. Heylen and Schein will head into the final three rounds of the SprintX championship maintaining the GT-Pro/Am championship lead with a 6-point advantage over James Sofronas.
Rounds 7 and 8 of the SprintX championship will be televised on Sunday, August 20, at 4:00 EDT on CBS Sports Network. Driver Quotes: Patrick Long // Driver, No. 58 Porsche 911 GT3 R – “ That was a tough ending to an otherwise really strong weekend for us. We improved on the car throughout the weekend. In Race 2 we were running in a really clear third position. After a couple of full course yellows the two cars in front of me were battling for the lead and got everyone bunched up. At the exit of turn five I was pushed off the track and from there fell back to sixth place. I’m pretty frustrated to have not gotten racing room, but that’s sprint racing. Pirelli World Challenge is intense competition. It is what the fans love and why we, as drivers, love to race here. Sometimes it just bites you. Jörg Bergmeister // No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R – "It was a difficult ending after the good result we had in Race 1. I had a pretty good start behind the Cadillac. I didn’t quite have the pace to follow him, but was able to keep all of the other Porsches behind me. Patrick was running a solid third place and unfortunately had contact on the restart by a competitor who didn’t give him racing room. He dropped a couple of positions, but overall I think it was still a very positive weekend. We will go to COTA with what we learned here and try to win all three races there.” Michael Schein // No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R – “It was definitely disappointing to hear that we got a penalty at the end of Race 2, but it was overall a really good weekend for Jan, myself and Wright Motorsports. We got the win on Saturday and one win is definitely better than no wins, so we’ll take it and focus forward to Circuit of the Americas.” Jan Heylen // No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R – “ Overall it was very decent weekend with a win in Race 1. We also had a good Race 2 with a pretty solid lead for a while, so that obviously wasn’t the result that we were hoping for. From here we’ll just have to go to COTA, do the same thing we do every weekend, and keep pushing for results. This was definitely a bittersweet one, but that’s how it goes sometimes.”