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    The Way It Is/ Ulrich Baretzky's vision for the sport

    The Way It Is/ Ulrich Baretzky's vision for the sport

    by Gordon Kirby
    As we all know, Audi has been one of the leading auto manufacturers in developing new technology for its road and racing cars. A quarter of a century ago Audi successfully developed the Quattro road and rally car and more recently the German company broke new ground with its direct injection diesel-powered Le Mans cars. Ulrich Baretzky is Audi Sport's head of engine development and few people in the sport have thought as thoroughly as Baretzky about how motor racing must embrace new technology and improved efficiency in the coming years.

    Baretzky is also a proponent of Ben Bowlby's Delta Wing concept and has been one of the sport's leaders in pushing the FIA to adopt the 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder 'Global Racing Engine' as the basic power unit for a wide variety of international motor sport categories. But he's also thought long and hard about the right way to best apply energy recovery systems to racing and how hybrids and electrification can be best applied to the sport. It's always an inspirational pleasure to talk with Baretzky and at the ALMS's Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta I enjoyed another excellent conversation with Audi's chief engine man.

    "We are now at a major deciding point in motor sport history to precisely define where motor sport is going," Baretzky emphasized. "If we go strictly in an entertainment direction like NASCAR and IndyCar are going it is a short term solution and it will not last very long. The other direction is to go back to where we came from, which is to think about technology innovation and to make the rules such that this can be done. A hundred years ago when it started motor sport was a development machine and it still should be and must be. If not, there is no reason for racing to continue."

    Like all top racing engineers Baretzky has no doubt that racing is the best laboratory for the auto industry to develop new ideas. But he's equally convinced that if the sport doesn't act quickly it will lose its relevance to the wider world and the youth market, which is already turning away from racing, particularly NASCAR and IndyCar.

    © Audi Sport
    "We want to send a clear message and the message can only be that we take care of and save the planet and we do it together with motor sport because racing is the fastest and quickest development machine you can imagine," Baretzky said. "But if we don't do it, then this effort will go somewhere else and we in motor sport will be alone on our own for a certain time, but not very long. Then the sport will be shut down because it has completely missed its purpose.

    "There must be boundaries, of course, that people can afford and it must be useful for our production cars and for the customers who are sitting on the fence trying to decide what they should do and what the future will hold. If we can do this we will also attract the younger people because the message will be clear, understandable and credible. That is the only way I see it going.

    "Motor sport must redefine itself but it musn't forget the old rules. I think that's very important. The old way of innovation has been proven and is still valid. Regardless, we must create a clear message for the young people. If not, we will lose the next generation and then we will no longer be relevant."

    Baretzky believes motor sport must take a strong leadership role if it is to survive and thrive.

    "We should not wait until governments or society put pressure on us to respond," he remarked. "We should show the way so that the world says motor sports people are the only ones we can really believe in because they are credible people who have produced tangible results. The rest of them are just talking or wanting to sell you something. This is our opportunity. It is a huge chance to regenerate the credibility and spirit of motor sport which for sure has suffered a little bit in the last ten years.

    "That's our job and our chance in motorsport. We have the credibility with the most efficient cars and the efficiency should be a winning factor. We have to change the rules. In the future it will not be about performance-driven rules. It will be about being efficiency-driven."

    The FIA and Formula One will go to a high-tech, stressed member version of the 'Global Racing Engine' in 2013. Baretzky has been talking to the FIA and to F1 team principals about how best to make this move.

    "I've had a similar discussion with some guys involved in Formula One," he said. "We were discussing the new rules for 2013. I was invited to join them and I said you have only to make up your mind. Imagine what would happen if two years from now Formula One wouldn't exist anymore? What would happen? Would the world stop turning? And the F1 people thought and said, 'You're right.'

    "I said the problem is you live so much in your little world and you don't see the real world outside anymore. You have to take the time to go out and discover what most people really want. It's not the glitz and glamor of Monaco. People have real, daily problems like when they go to the gas station and the price has gone up and consumption has gone up.

    © LAT USA
    "Most people would love to buy something more economical so we have to provide it. We don't have to give them the feeling that they are underpowered or suffering from being green or more economic or more efficient. In motor sport--and Formula One and Indy especially--it would be the right platform to showcase to people that efficiency is sexy."

    The biggest challenges are how to control costs and introduce a sensible package of energy recovery systems.

    "It's very encouraging to talk to the people in Formula One," Baretzky said. "The only problem is we have to find a way to finance energy recovery systems because the way it is now, nobody can afford it or wants to afford it. We have to find a road map of how to install these things, step by step, so on one hand we have the credibility to be more efficient and on the other hand we make it affordable for the motor manufacturers and for others as well. The FIA and the sanctioning bodies are literally waiting for us to tell them how they should do it.

    "None of us has a crystal ball to look at the future," Baretzky added. "You always have to think and talk to each other just to get a little bit of a think tank of what are the others thinking. You have to orient yourself to the bigger world around us beyond the FIA, the ACO, the ALMS and the other racing sanctioning bodies that we do the right things in the right way."

    Baretzky sees Audi and Peugeot's successful development of turbo diesel engines as only the first step in racing's new odyssey.

    "It must not stop there," he stressed. "Other steps will follow for sure. We have to continue to develop new technologies and the good thing is we at Audi are very much driven by that. Our concept has never been to make entertainment. Even before I came to Audi they were developing the Quattro in rallying and it was done to showcase technological advancement through motor sport and then bring it into production cars. Our credibility was based in that and I think it has continued very well and we have to continue to go down that path.

    "The problem now is that we have to convince the governing bodies because they are a little bit unsure what direction to take. They are very open at the moment, whether it's the FIA or the ACO or the ALMS. They are all thinking about efficiency. They want to make efficient racing cars that are energy or fuel-saving, but the question is, how and who should pay?

    "That is the other thing, of course, we cannot allow motor sport to go on a spending spree. That is a bad attitude for the manufacturers but also because we will lose the privateers and they are necessary for motor sport. So we must find a very good balance. We must not stop the development but on the other hand we must not go down the road of spending too much so that in a few years all the privateers are driven out. That is the difficult part that must be done."

    FIA president Jean Todt appears to have embraced the 'Global Racing Engine' which Baretzky and others would like to see become the basic power plant for all forms of FIA-sanctioned international motor racing

    "Everybody is going the four-cylinder route and next year the four-cylinder 'Global Racing Engine' will be in rallying and touring car racing," Baretzky pointed out. "A couple of months ago I met Jean Todt and said I would like to see this engine adapted for every major series the FIA runs. I said this is the future and we will expect to see more and more manufacturers committing to these engines."

    © LAT USA
    One of the problems to solve is how to make energy recovery systems affordable for all racing categories.

    "We will see all kinds of energy recovery systems, but we have to define them, what you can and cannot do," Baretzky observed. "Maybe we will have to make spec parts in order to make them affordable for the privateers so they can compete on the same level as the factories. This is an area where we will have to move very carefully because at the moment it's very difficult to see where the future is going.

    "We will have to find solutions of energy recovery systems that you can bolt on. If they are logically and simply made so you recover not one hundred percent of what is possible but maybe only sixty to seventy percent then you have already achieved something. If we can go to something like that in motor sport with small engines then it could be applied to road cars without big effort.

    "This is my conviction and the role I see for motor sports in the future. I see us developing these things and creating an efficiency challenge and making it more sexy to consume a liter less fuel than to have twenty more horsepower."

    Baretzky is frustrated that IndyCar failed to embrace the 'GRE' for its 2012 formula. Earlier this year Randy Bernard told me not a single manufacturer was ready to proceed with a 'GRE' in time for 2012, but Baretzky refutes that assertion.

    "I told Randy in March at least three of these engines would be ready to run next year. I said, 'Randy you can have at least three engines. They are on the way.' I knew that at the time because the companies had told me about their plans. Each of Citroen, Ford and BMW have these engines. These three engines will be homologated by January 1st in the coming year and six months later the main components will be on the market and available to anyone who wants to buy them.

    "I rang Randy and told him you will be able to purchase these engines by the middle of 2011 and you won't have to do anything in terms of development. I told him that his biggest problem is not having engines, but with the rules he has created for 2012 again he has no engines. Other than Honda nobody will do a V-6.

    "Racing shouldn't be boring," Baretzky added. "There should be a variety of technical solutions which will attract people who are technically interested and the most efficient car should win. If this message is contained in the rules then we must not be shy and afraid of the future. We have to go there. It will take some effort. It will take a community of common thinking to convince all the Randy Bernards of the world who are not courageous enough to make a decision like that to make this decision for the sake of motor sport."

    Baretzky believes it won't be difficult to adapt a turbo four-cylinder 'GRE' to Audi's Le Mans prototype.

    "It would be a natural thing to do," he commented. "Natural because if I didn't make a mistake, and I'm pretty sure I didn't with the idea of the GRE, I am convinced that you will be able to win at Le Mans with an engine like that. It will take a little bit of effort. When we made our first diesel engine it took a big effort but we now have the technology for a direct injection engine. It's not a mystery. Twenty-seven years ago a 1.5-liter four cylinder BMW engine won the Formula One world championship. It wasn't a direct injection engine but it was a very sophisticated, production-based engine. So it's possible for sure.

    © LAT USA
    "The only difference we will see in the future is we cannot allow in Formula One, or anywhere else, an engine which has a lifetime of only 200 or 500 kilometers beause that would be betraying our customers. It will have to have a lifetime of at least a Le Mans distance, which means 7,000-8,000 kilometers overall.

    "It will have to be the same in Formula One and everywhere in motor sport. We will have to look after the efficiency in every aspect, including spending. When we are generating engines like that and we want to have the relevance for our customers then the lifetime of the engine must be long enough to be convincing."

    Some critics say a four-cylinder engine is not structurally sound but Baretzky says this problem can be solved. He points to Volkswagen's F3 engine as an example.

    "Yes, of course, this is for sure a problem and has always been a problem with a four-cylinder," he related. "But there are methods to overcome that. Three years ago we contributed a lot to making a Formula Three engine for Volkswagen and in the beginning it had a structure around it. I said, why? If you do it the right way with the right materials, and I don't want to go into too much details because Mercedes-Benz always doubted how we made it and how the engine was so much better than theirs. So I don't want to tell them how to do it.

    "But we thought very logically about some things and we determined we didn't need a separate structure. And the engine is running very succesfully today and has been running very successfully for some time. Now, I don't say it's the same with a 600 horsepower turbocharged engine. But even if you do make a subframe, where is the problem?"

    Baretzky points out that an in-line, four-cylinder provides plenty of room for energy recovery systems.

    "Small engines allow us to combine a lot of energy recovery systems. If you want to look at all the efficiency components you want to incorporate in the future, like waste energy recovery systems from the exhaust or the cooling system, then you need a little bit of space on the left and rightside of the engine. A four-cylinder gives you that space but a vee engine is the wrong thing to have because you are so limited in space. You have an exhaust system on both the left and rightside and you also have to double all the energy recovery systems which makes it very heavy, very complicated and very inefficient.

    "So it's better to have the hot side on one side of the engine and the cool side on the other side so you can arrange all these things accordingly. That's the opportunity with the four-cylinder. The other thing is a four-cylinder is much shorter than a big V-8 so the size of the engine allows you to work in all directions, fore and aft as well as side to side.

    "Having said that, the next step after the four-cylinder will be the three-cylinder and how would you do that with a V-6? Would you make a V-4? That's not really a good solution. It will be an in-line three-cylinder and a lot of these engines are already on the way. BMW has announced a three-cylinder and Volkswagen has one in production.

    "In the end, the people driving the car don't care about the number of cylinders. They just want to drive the car and say it's good or not. Then they look at the fuel consumption and if it's good they are happy with it. If you want to have a nice sound from the engine you can generate it electrically. You can have a twelve-cylinder sound according to your accelerator and speed. So what else would you want? An efficient engine with light weight and enough power according to what you require."

    Baretzky is extremely skeptical that all-electric cars will become big sellers.

    "We have to keep in mind that even in twenty years time ninety-five percent of the existing cars will be strictly the internal combustion engine. How many hybrids and electric cars will be sold in the next fifteen or twenty years? The overall number will not change. There will be a small and growing margin in the years to come, but there will still be an awful lot of strictly internal combustion engines.

    © LAT USA
    "My personal conviction, and Audi's conviction, is that we will see a new world behind electrification. There will be an electric element in the car of the future for sure, but it will not be that big. It will be much smaller than some people think."

    Baretzky points out that it's very costly to build and dispose of batteries which also create plenty of CO2 output.

    "If you look at the price of 200 kilograms of batteries and the additional cost of disposing of them, this a very big problem. The disposal problem is what nobody mentions. You will have to exchange the batteries three times in two years and where will those batteries go? There will be thousands of tons of batteries laying around.

    "This is very, very un-green technology. Nobody asks about the CO2 output you generate by creating these batteries. Lithium is not found everywhere. You have to mine it and transport it. It's very expensive and very un-green. So we have to really focus and wipe away all the lies.

    "Some people are advertising plug-in electric cars as completely green with no emissions at all. Yes, there are no emissions from the car, but there is a huge amount of CO2 produced by producing and then getting rid of the batteries. And the young people today don't want to be fooled by things like that. It's very dangerous to try to fool them because they are very technologically aware."

    Baretzky points out that Porsche's 911 GT3 R hybrid (featured in this space next week) is one way of the future.

    "We must have a way of energy-storing like Porsche is doing. Porsche's system is not that heavy and it's not dangerous because when it stops there is no voltage in it and you can drive a few kilometers. For racing that is okay and for most of our customers it's okay as well. What they want is to have an efficient car with a lower consumption compared to what they had before. This purpose is possible and it's what motor sport can develop and showcase to everybody. This is what should happen, but it must be very well-defined."

    Finally, Baretzky is a big fan of Ben Bowlby's Delta Wing concept.

    "The Delta Wing idea is far too good to ignore," he declares. "It must come to life. The arguments for the Delta Wing are the right ones and if it can be brought to the people in the sport so they understand it, then it will run. If the idea is credible and convincingly good it will run and I believe it is both those things. It looks different and that's a challenge for many people, but how did a car look thirty or forty years ago compared to today's cars?

    "Randy Bernard and those guys in IndyCar were not courageous enough and confident enough to say we're going to follow this idea because we believe in it and it's our style to do that. New ideas may not always work but trial and error is mankind's history. As someone said the other day, if you start something you may win or you may lose, but if you don't start then you have lost already."

    Amen to Baretzky's outspoken views. I agree with Baretzky that motor racing must adopt his concepts or wither and die.


    Auto Racing ~ Gordon Kirby
    Copyright 2010 ~ All Rights Reserved

    Re: The Way It Is/ Ulrich Baretzky's vision for the sport

    Smiley Smiley


    There is no try. Just do.

    Re: The Way It Is/ Ulrich Baretzky's vision for the sport

    Here's a piece Kirby wrote on Patrick Long...



    The Way It Is/ Patrick Long's path to ALMS stardom

    by Gordon Kirby
     In recent years Patrick Long has emerged as one of America's top sports car racers. A factory Porsche driver since 2003 Long is the defending ALMS GT2 champion with Flying Lizard teammate Joerg Bergmeister and has scored class wins at Le Mans, Sebring and Petit Le Mans and an outright win in the 2009 Daytona 24 Hours. Long co-drove one of Brumos Racing's Riley-Porsches to win at Daytona in '09 and also raced one of Roger Penske's LMP2 Porsche Spyders from 2006-'08. This year Long and Bergmeister have scored four GT2 wins in the Flying Lizard Porsche and are leading the drivers championship by twenty-two points with just Petit Le Mans remaining at Road Atlanta on the first weekend in October. And in the GT2 manufacturers' championship Porsche leads BMW by one point and Ferrari by eleven.

    I first met Patrick at Sebring ten years ago. We were there for Skip Barber's 'Big Scholarship' run-off and we chose Patrick as the winner because he demonstrated then the same skills he shows today, week in, week out, as a top Porsche factory driver. Just nineteen at the time, Long was fast, consistent, cool and analytical. He knew what he wanted from the car and how to make it better.

    Patrick had been very successful in karts, winning American national titles in 1997 and '98 and also racing successfully in Europe. Long became the first American to win a major international kart race in twenty years when he won the Winter Cup in Italy in '98.

    © Gary Gold
    "As a twelve year old kid racing in Southern California," Patrick recalls, "there were these odd characters that came back from Europe and would talk about their experiences racing at the karting world championships and racing on these unbelievable European racetracks in rolling green hills. So I always aspired to get over there and to race in Europe and find out what it was about.

    "My first opportunity came when I was fourteen and when I went over there I realized it was all that I had heard, but even much more. From a karting standpoint, I knew it was the mecca. I would learn in a summer what I had learned all year racing Stateside."

    The following year Long moved up to cars racing a 1,600 cc Renault-powered car in the Elf La Filiere series. In 2000 Patrick raced in both the British Formula Ford championship and Skip Barber's Formula Dodge series where he was rookie of the year and Patrick's overseas forays and successes contributed to our decision to pick him at the end of that season as the clear winner of the $150,000 'Big Scholarship' prize. It paid for a season in the following year's Barber Dodge series, the first step on American open-wheel racing's ladder system at the time.

    But Patrick decided to pass on the scholarship because he wanted to race in Europe. It was a tough but admirably correct decision for a guy who wanted to test himself against the world's best so he turned his back on a free season in America to race Formula Ford in the UK and Europe.

    "It was definitely one of those pivotal points," Patrick remarked. "Skip was an integral part, as was Bob Bondurant, in getting me my first blast in cars out of go-karts. I had been involved with the karting school and the 'Big Scholarship' was something I knew a lot about and had always aspired to take part in, let alone win it.

    "At the end of 2000 I had really been beat-up in my first year in British Formula Ford," he acknowledges. "I was a better driver because of it, but I really didn't have anything to show for it in results in Europe. But when I came back to do the 'Big Scholarship' I realized I was measuring up against some of the great promising talents that were at that run-off. At that point I was set in joining the ranks of the Skip Barber Pro Series which was a great feeder series at that point and had some great venues and weekends.

    "Then I went back [to the UK] for the last two races in the Winter Series. I was with the lead team for Ralph Firman with Duckhams sponsorship and I was able to win the next weekend and really grew my relationship with my mechanic and team manager and with Ralph. A few weeks later the team came knocking hard and said they really wanted to work with me full-time to go after the championship. So I was left with a decision that I never wanted to take. Would I take Skip's $150,000 scholarship or drive for Ralph Firman's Duckhams team? It was incredibly difficult.

    © Gary Gold
    "It was a tough decision but I had to go with everything I had worked towards overseas and stick it out and try to rebound from a tough season in Formula Ford and go try to win that championship. I was still in that mindset of wanting to stick it out in Europe. At the time I felt kind of like the Lone Ranger over in Europe as an American formula car kid. A couple of other Americans had come and gone, but I felt like I had been over there quite a while and I was determined to make it work.

    "So I called Skip and his people and explained my dilemma. They were very understading and supportive and it showed a lot about who Skip is and what the company was about. In the end it worked out, but it was a little bit controversial at the time."

    Driving the factory van Diemenn Long won three Formula Ford races in the UK, finished a close second in the championship and also won a European championship race at the daunting Spa track in Belgium.

    "In hindsight, it felt like it was the right thing to do," Patrick says. "I came within one point of winning the championship. I had three victories and won the pre-final in the Formula Ford Festival. So it panned out. It would have been tough if I had a disastrous year or the team lost sponsorship and had forgone what I had with Skip."

    Long moved up to Formula Renault in '02 where he won a race and contended for the championship. Patrick was one of very few Americans racing in Europe with a chance of making it to Formula One and was chosen as a finalist in that year's original Red Bull F1 driver search program.

    "I was aiming for the high pinnacle of the sport in Formula One and took a little bit more of a path to Formula One in 2001 when there was a surge in the quest for an American with the US Grand Prix running at Indianapolis. I was fortunate to be selected as part of the Red Bull Driver Search program and I figured this was the culmination of everything that I had been pushing for quite a few years. It was really timely when the opportunity came because I had just finished a season of Formula Renault, my first slicks and wings year.

    "So that was a great opportunity but I was already being pretty realistic that it might not pan out. I knew that it was sort of a lottery. I'd been involved in lots of driver run-offs with Skip Barber and Elf La Filere and I didn't win every one of them. So I knew to keep my eyes open and shake a lot of hands when I had the opportunity."

    Inexplicably, Long was overlooked by the Red Bull selectors in favor of Scott Speed. But in 2003 opportunity came knocking from elsewhere when Patrick was offered a contract with Porsche's Junior team to race in the German and British Carrera Cups and Michelin SuperCup.

    "I was kind of given a career statement from the guys that were making the selection," he recalls. "Helmut Greiner was head of development in the German Carrera Cup as well as the Junior Team and he said to me, 'We think you might be good enough to go straight into the factory program. But we want you to race with the Junior team and learn about racing with a roof over your head and learn our culture. We want you to live here in Germany. We want you to be 110 percent focused on being a Le Mans champion for us in the future. We don't want you racing single-seaters in the off-season and living in England. We want your commitment. If you're ready to commit to us, we're ready to commit to you.'

    © Gary Gold
    "I guess I was pretty naive not to sign right on the spot. But I did my due diligence and asked everybody around me their opinion and it was so unanimous and strong that it made the decision easy. I've never looked back or questioned it since I made the phone call to Germany and said, 'Yes, I want to do this.'."

    Long lived in Germany in 2003 and the first half of '04 before returning home to California after signing to drive full-time for Porsche in the ALMS.

    "In '03 I lived in the next village over from Weissach and went to the office every day that I wasn't racing," he says.

    In his debut year with Porsche in Europe in '03 Long won three races and took four poles from eighteen races and also finished fourth in his ALMS debut at Petit Le Mans in the fall. It was his first race in the United States in six years.

    Patrick was also delighted to not only make his Le Mans debut in 2004 but to win the GT class driving a Peterson/White Lightning Carrera with Sascha Maassen and Joerg Bergmeister.

    "I didn't expect to participate at Le Mans in my first year as a member of the team, let alone being in the lead entry," he relates. "It came together kind of late and quick, but there I was experiencing that race, which is a whole other world. Being able to be a member of the class-winning team that year, I felt like my horizons were expanding quickly. I was a late addition as the third driver and driving with Sascha Maassen and Joerg Bergmeister was fantastic because they were upper classmen with the factory team. So it was just a great experience.

    "It was daunting," he adds. "I just remember being wide-eyed. I had great coaching from Sascha Maassen but it was by far the most challenged I had been as a driver. In a lot of ways I didn't smell the roses or soak up what it was all about because I was so focused on doing a good job. I knew what was going on around me and I was enjoying it, but I was super intense."

    Long is now a Le Mans veteran having done the race the past seven years in a row.

    "It's been seven years now on the trot and each year I've been able to experience the week itself a little bit more," he says. "I'm just absolutely honored every time I take part in that race. It's been fun. There have been different generations of my experience from being a new guy and finding my way to slowly coming into my own and then leading the French team."

    In 2006 Patrick was hired as a part-time co-driver for Roger Penske's pair of Porsche RS Spyder P2 cars and became a full-time Penske driver in '08 paired with Sascha Maassen and Ryan Briscoe.

    "It was surreal to drive for a guy that I used to wake up on Memorial Day and watch compete at Indy," Long comments. "It was really memorable and quite possibly when I look back in hopefully twenty years it was the highlight of my whole racing career.

    "The coolest part was that Roger was calling the shots on the #6 car for myself and Sascha. He's such a hands-on guy and such a personable guy. I had definitely learned that in the previous two years. I had worked with Tim Cindric on the #7 car but working with Roger was really interesting.

    "We never knew quite when he would show up during the weekend. Sometimes he'd be there before us and sometimes he'd fly in and put the headset on for the final practice. When Roger came over the radio there was an extra bit of energy and motivation to go out there and drive as hard as I could for him."

    Over the past few years Long has further expanded his horizons, running a bunch of Late Model and NASCAR West races on both road courses and ovals. He's driven for seven or eight teams in five different stock car series. He also plays occasionally in sprint cars and on moto-cross 'bikes and will race an Australian SuperCar at Surfers Paradise next month.

    © Gary Gold
    "It's great to be able to roam around in other categories," Patrick says. "I think Porsche understands that we're race-crazy and we're out doing whatever we're doing on the off-weekends because it's our way to relax and be social and it's our way to fuel our passion.

    "When you look back into the sixties the guys that are my heroes and the guys I enjoy reading about in my free time were the guys that were the best in whatever they did. But they were also the best at jumping into anything and going fast on an off-weekend or off-night, and that's what I want to emulate.

    "I think there's not a lot of that these days. Some drivers haven't been outside one form of racing in ten years and for me to be in something different at least every few months is a lot of fun and also a great perk of driving for Porsche. We have the freedom to explore off-road racing and sprint cars and stock cars and anything in between.

    "So that's my goal. That's what I love to do, just to drive, and that's a huge point about Porsche. They let us race other cars and that part of it is very exciting for me."

    Patrick has no doubts he's learned a great deal from his stock car experiences.

    "I really enjoyed it because there's not a lot of tire or brake or aero, but a lot of power and a finesse to the driving that I just loved. There was a rhythm to it that I really enjoyed. I really enjoy the low-key and down-to-earth culture and meeting new people and getting my face out to a new demographic of fans and telling my story of how I ended up in a stock car and what I do for my day job. I hope to do that with some off-road stuff in the next couple of years and keep up the stock car stuff when opportunities arise.

    "I feel that racecraft on a short track and the way they attack on a restart and just how hard those kids push in the NASCAR feeder series has helped me raise my game in aggression and being right up on the wheel, as they say, when the green flag or the restart happens. The technical side of how you have to tune one of those cars has brought a different way of looking at things that sometimes has helped me. And just to become a little more worldly within motorsports. It's great pr, but it also has really helped my game.

    "But it all takes a side seat to what I'm doing, which is trying to fight off Ferrari, Corvette and BMW and win the ALMS championship. It's about balancing that focus and making sure that it's only adding to my driving and never taking away from it."

    Most of all, Long is proud to be a Porsche man.

    "When I think of one word for Porsche, it's heritage," he remarks. "There's so much motorsport heritage around the company at all levels at Weissach and everywhere else. If I walk through the head offices in Atlanta nine out of ten cubicles have some kind of motorsports poster hung on the walls. It's kind of like being born into a motorsports family. It's cool to be around a company that's so motorsports-driven. Being able to be around their history is a great honor and opportunity."

    He has no regrets that his professional career didn't take shape in open-wheel cars.

    "It's unconventional to many people, certainly the people who only follow single-seater racing. But when either drivers or engineers come into sports car racing and learn what sports car racing is all about they appreciate it just as much as any other form of racing. I just feel fortunate that I was able to find my niche in sports car racing when I was still young and start to build my career."

    Long believes he has an ideal teammate in Joerg Bergmeister.

    "Joerg is a very interesting guy," Patrick observes. "Joining him has been a huge pivotal point for me. He's such an intense competitor, a technical guy, somebody who goes out and gets every last millisecond out of the race car. He's a great competitor and a very friendly and well-respected guy around the paddock.

    "Joerg and I came from very different backgrounds. We're about as much the odd couple from our height difference to the way we attack the weekend to where we grew up. But you learn how to work with somebody and we've just grown as teammates and friends over the years. We have a special understanding in how to push each other and provide strength for each other.

    "I've enjoyed that with a lot of teammates in sports car racing. There's just been something that works--an energy or level of luck that really works for us. I feel like when I go into a twenty-four hour race as a teammate of Joerg's that we both have a better chance of winning. I don't know what it is. It's hard to express."

    Meanwhile, Long's immediate goal is for Bergmeister and him to win a second drivers consecutive ALMS GT2 championship and to wrap-up a fiercely-fought GT manufacturers title.

    "It's going to be a show-down," Pat remarked. "We've got only one point over our opposition. We're not in a dominant position by any means. It's going to be as tough as it's ever been in my career to try to hold onto this championship."

    His longterm goal is to win as many races as possible for Porsche in whatever category the German manufacturer decides he should compete. Persistent rumors suggest Porsche will return to Le Mans in the next few years with a new P1 car and Long would love to be part of that program if it materializes. Regardless, expect to see him in action in the ALMS for many years to come.

    "The goal is to win the race the next weekend. It's just about pushing as hard as I can in every opportunity that I have. Right now, my radar is fixed on Porsche and sports car racing and going where Porsche's going, where ever that might be. The sport changes quickly, as we all know, and it's hard to put a five-year plan on where we might be competing. But definitely my five-year plan is to be involved with Porsche in whatever that may be and to try and win as many races as possible."

    In company with one of the sports car racing's most respected brands Patrick Long continues to build his reputation as one of the world's best sports car racers. Week in, week out, Patrick shows that Americans can compete internationally in motor racing.


    2006 987S, Artic Silver, Cocoa, Cocoa Top 2006 Cayenne S Lapis Blue New York



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