It might only be for one race, but the 2011 Pirelli World Challenge Champion, Patrick Long, is taking Lawson Aschenbach's place in the TruSpeed #1 PrivacyStar/Entrust Porsche 911 GT3 at round four of the 2012 championship.
Long claimed the 2011 championship with four wins and four pole position, despite the fact he missed a race due to a scheduling conflict. Ironically enough, last year's one missed race was at Miller Motorsports Park. This weekend's race at Miller puts Patrick back behind the wheel of a World Challenge-spec car, continues his relationship with TruSpeed and gives him a chance to take care of last year's unfinished business.
Patrick had this to say about the upcoming race. “I’m thrilled to be continuing my relationship with TruSpeed and to return on a weekend to fill in for Lawson. Miller is a very unique track, but it's been good to me in general. Rob Morgan and Tyler Tadevic have put a ton of effort into building the team into a serious contender, and it’s been awesome to watch as they’ve had good pace and early success this year.”
Even though Patrick is acting as a substitute for Lawson Aschenback due to a scheduling conflict, he will still be handicapped with 44 lbs of "success ballast". Something he's well acquainted with having won the 2011 Championship with an extra 200 lbs to contend with.
Packed Racing Weekend for TruSpeed
Long might be the headliner this weekend in Utah, but his Porsche is one of only eight that TruSpeed Motorsports will run in three different series at the same venue. TruSpeed regular Justin Marks will race in the #46 GoPro / MMX Porsche this weekend, and will seek to build on strong results from Long Beach on the season’s first proper road course.
He and Long will be joined by Utah native and 16-year old racing phenom Madison Snow, who himself will pull double racing duty this weekend, as he drives in both the Pirelli World Challenge and IMSA GT3 Challenge at his home track. Snow will drive the #47 TruSpeed Porsche GT3 Cup in the World Challenge event.
IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge
Tom Haacker, driving the #80 G22 Racing / TruSpeed Porsche and Sloan Urry, driving the #20 TruSpeed Porsche, get back to racing after a long layoff since Sebring. Urry was raised in Utah and turned his first racing laps at Miller Motorsports Park. For him, the return to Miller feels like a homecoming.
He said, “I first caught the racing bug in a Mustang at Miller Park, and am really excited to be racing here in IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge. It’s great to be home, and I’ll have lots of friends and family here this weekend, which is a huge . Sebring and Miller Motorsports Park are pretty different, despite both being long and fast. It’s so much smoother around here, and with the size of the field, it will be important to keep my nose clean. Fortunately, I know my way around here pretty well!”
Haacker and Urry will be joined on the grid by Phil Fogg Jr., driving the #40 Entrust/TruSpeed Porsche GT3. Fogg makes his return to the TruSpeed fold after debuting in 2011 in the Pirelli Driver’s Cup at Portland International raceway, and the team welcomes him back for the first of four races this season.
Pirelli Driver’s Cup
Rounding out the eight cars TruSpeed will field at Miller this weekend are two Pirelli Driver’s Cup Porsches - Jim Slavik in the #81 Zorro Tools Porsche GT3 Cup and Tom Haacker in the #45 G22 Porsche GT3 Cup. Slavik will contest the full season of the Pirelli Driver’s Cup, while Haacker will be pulling double duty on the weekend by driving in both the IMSA GT3 and Pirelli Driver’s Cup races.
TruSpeed Team Manager Tyler Tadevic previewed the weekend, saying:
“For sure, this is a very busy week of racing for us, and we’ve got every last TruSpeed employee firing on all cylinders getting things ready for our races. Juggling eight cars across three series doesn’t leave much down time, but we’ve got the right people in the right jobs, and a huge amount of confidence about our ability to be competitive across the board. It’s a huge deal having Patrick back for us this weekend; he was an integral part of our organization’s growth in 2011, and we need him to score maximum points to offset Lawson not being in the car this weekend. He’s a consummate professional, however, and once the green flag drops, it’s fun to just sit back and watch the guy race.”
The Utah Grand Prix kicks off Friday, April 27. For live coverage, visit http://www.world-challenge.com/ and http://imsachallenge.com/