- Carlin Sanderson
Wright Motorsports Enters Factory Driver Lineup for California 8-Hour
Batavia, Ohio (October 3, 2017) - Coming off of a most successful championship season in Pirelli World Challenge, Wright Motorsports is preparing to enter the championship-winning No. 58 Porsche 911 GT3 R into endurance competition for the Intercontinental GT Challenge’s California 8 Hours at Laguna Seca. With the support of Porsche Motorsport North America, the lineup will feature PWC champion Patrick Long (Manhattan Beach, California), his season-long SprintX teammate, Jörg Bergmeister (Germany) and the addition of fellow Porsche works driver, Romain Dumas (France).
The California 8 Hours marks the first time that the four-stop Intercontinental GT Challenge (IGTC) series will race on US soil. With GT3 specifications that align with Pirelli World Challenge, Wright Motorsports will be joined by a number of the same teams and drivers whom they competed against during the 2017 season. With the 2017 PWC Overall, Sprint, Team and Manufacturer’s championships to their name, the John Wright-led group is eager to put their wits up against global competition.
“We are pleased to welcome the Intercontinental GT Challenge to North America, and are encouraged by the interest our customer teams have shown for the event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. It seems the challenge of competing in a true eight-hour endurance race was too good to pass up for many Pirelli World Challenge teams, even after a full season of intense competition," said Daniel Armbruster, president/CEO, Porsche Motorsport North America
“The 911 GT3 R and Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR that currently compete in the Pirelli World Challenge Sprint, and Sprint X format, make ideal endurance race cars. For the only North American stop on the Intercontinental GT Challenge tour, PMNA is stepping up our usual high level of customer support for Wright Motorsports, the PWC Overall and Sprint Championship - winning team with a special livery and three of our factory ‘works’ drivers – including current PWC GT Champion Patrick Long, Jörg Bergmeister and Romain Dumas. The weekend promises to be a world class affair.”
Most recently known for his championship-winning success in the PWC sprint format, Long possesses years of endurance experience and class wins victories at some of the world’s most renowned sports car eventsvenues like the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Rolex 24 of Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring and the Petit Le Mans. Having already emerged victorious in the first round of the 2017 IGTC at the Bathurst 12 Hours, he looks to build on that success as he hits home turf. The California-native has seen four endurance wins and two podiums at the 2.238-mile central California coast road course, all of which were earned driving alongside Bergmeister.
Bergmeister returns to the No. 58 Porsche after a PWC SprintX season that saw a win and three additional podiums, which helped Long clinch the Overall championship and take third-place in the SprintX standings. The German Porsche factory driver will feel right at home entering endurance competition having carried out victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, 24 Hours of Daytona, Petit Le Mans, the 12 Hours of Sebring, the 24 Hours of Nürburgring and much more.
New to Wright Motorsports, but no stranger to success is Romain Dumas, who will join the team as a reigning FIA WEC LMP1 champion and two-time overall winner at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Like Long and Bergmeister, the Frenchman also brings a wealth of stateside experience to the table as he’s seen the top step of the podium at not only Laguna Seca, but also prestigious endurance races such as the 12 Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans.
The IGTC field will take the stage for eight hours of racing on Sunday, October 15. Live split coverage will be available on CBS Sports Network, with the race start being shown from 12PM ET to 2PM ET, and race finish from 7PM to 8:30.
Patrick Long, Driver, No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R -“Additional factory drivers and teams who have won international championships coming to Laguna Seca, what's not to like about that? There will be a lot of series rivalry and that only adds extra motivation to everyone's sauce. I look forward to the endurance element and the unique format will make for a great show. It adds a lot of planning for the Wright Motorsports team. They have been working hard to prep the equipment. I have been endurance racing with them before and they know how to get the job done. Strategy will be key.”
Jörg Bergmeister, Driver, No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R - “I’m really looking forward to competing in an Intercontinental GT Challenge race and doing another event with Wright Motorsports. Patrick and I had a lot of success together in SprintX and adding Romain will only make our line up stronger. I had a good result competing at Laguna Seca a few weeks ago, so I think the Porsche will be very competitive. At Laguna you can usually expect a lot of yellows specifically because it isn’t easy to get out of the gravel traps under your own power, so with a lot of restarts in mind it’s going to be all about staying on the lead lap. Then once you get down to the final two hours, that’s when the fight is really on.”
Romain Dumas, Driver, No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R - “I’m very happy to be racing in the US again. The last time I raced at Laguna Seca was in 2008 so I’m excited to get back there and also to share a car with Patrick and Jörg again. I know that the Wright Motorsports team has been very successful so I know to expect a good package. Like any long race, this is going to be about making no mistakes, but also having an easy car to drive because Laguna Seca is known to be very unforgiving. I’m fully confident that the team will be able to provide that and think we will have a great shot.”