This weekend, Wright Motorsports is set to return to the site of their 2016 GT and GTA victory sweep at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP). Patrick Long and Michael Schein look to defend their track titles as they team with Jörg Bergmeister and Jan Heylen, respectively, in their Porsche 911 GT3 Rs for Rounds 3 and 4 of the Pirelli World Challenge SprintX championship.
It was one year ago from this week that Porsche factory driver Long joined the John Wright-led team after his former team took a mid-season exit from PWC competition. The group immediately proved themselves to be a winning combination, as Long took two GT class victories at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
This week, Long returns to CTMP, but this time with fellow Porsche works driver, Bergmeister. Both Long and Bergmeister hold four victories at the 2.458-mile, 10-turn road circuit, two of which they earned together as American Le Mans Series teammates. After a challenging start to the SprintX championship, they sit thirteenth in the GT-pro/pro driver standings, but have a lot room to make up ground at this weekend’s double-header event.
“Canadian Tire Motorsport Park is a very humbling place." said Long "It’s fast, blind and old school. It pushes you as a team to be picture perfect and precise in every move from the first lap of the weekend. It's about having momentum and confidence in order to find your rhythm, but once you get it right there are few places as rewarding as CTMP. As a team, we had a lot of success there last year and will return knowing one another a little better with the addition of some key team members like Jörg and Jan. The biggest shift for us is going to be running in the SprintX format; what demands that puts on the team with added strategy and a second driver. We’re very excited for the weekend.”
Added Bergmeister, “CTMP is definitely one of my favorite tracks on the schedule. It’s super quick and even with the amount of corners, you only need to use the brakes three different times, so that just speaks volumes to how fast and flowing the track is. This is the second time that the team has been there with the Porsche 911 GT3 R, so we should have a very good baseline to start with. I’m looking forward to it and hoping that we can repeat the level of success that the team had in 2016.”
It’s been a picture perfect start to the season for Schein and Heylen, who have yet to finish a race off the podium in the Sprint or SprintX format. Coming off a win and a third place at VIR, they lead the SprintX driver’s championship by two points in the GT-pro/am category. With an extra boost of momentum from Schein’s 2016 CTMP wins, the duo hopes to capitalize on that as they head north of the border.
“I always look forward to racing at CTMP." said Schein "It’s my favorite track that we visit. Wright Motorsports and myself have had a lot of success with our Porsche GT3R in the past; with Patrick and I sweeping both classes last year. I know that Jan is very fast there as well. We have good data from last year so I hope we can roll off the truck and be on pace right away. Having ironed out some kinks from the first SprintX weekend at VIR, I think we will have a good shot at top honors in Pro/Am. I’m excited to get out there!”
Heylen added, “I’m really looking forward to the weekend. CTMP is a track where the team was very strong last year. I’m excited to see what the car feels like and what the pace is relative to the field. The many times I’ve been there we’ve had a lot of rain, so I’m hoping that we can have a dry weekend. The plan is simple; to just keep on doing what we’re doing, try to have couple of clean starts, stay out of trouble and hopefully extend the lead that we have in the championship.”
The Pirelli World Challenge grid will take the green flag for Race 1 on Saturday at 1:45pm ET, followed by Sunday’s Race 2 at 10:00 am ET. The 60-minute races can be seen live at www.world-challenge.com and on the CBS Sports Network at 6:30 pm ET, Sunday, May 28.
*From team media release
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