2016 Pirelli World Challenge: New 911 GT3 R gets first win at COTA
Porsche factory ace, Patrick Long gave the new Porsche 911 GT3 R its first international victory by winning the 2016 Pirelli World Challenge season opener at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
Long, who will contest the full World Challenge calendar for Effort Racing as part of his factory campaign this season, took pole position for race one at COTA after jumping to the head of the timesheets early on with a lap of 2m05.355s.
The American’s second flying lap in the no. 31 Porsche 911 GT3 R saw him improve by nearly a second to cement his pole position, although Michael Cooper did get the no. 8 Cadillac within just 0.002 seconds of Long’s fastest time.
Leading the field at the rolling start, Long managed to get into the first turn at the head of the field however, Bryan Heitkotter in the no. 05 Nissan Nismo GT-R GT3 got the better exit to snatch P1 away from the factory Porsche racer.
A full-course caution for an incident in the chasing pack at turn one meant Long had to settle for second for the next 11 minutes but, when the race went green once again, the Californian began putting pressure on the lead Nissan as the duo pulled away from the rest of the field.
Long couldn’t get any closer than half a second though until, with 12 minutes of the 50-minute encounter to go, the no. 31 Porsche 911 GT3 R closed to within just three tenths.
The pressure was beginning to tell on Heitkotter and, with ten minutes to go, Long made his move to snatch the lead away from the Nissan at turn 13, setting off towards his sixth career victory in the Pirelli World Challenge and given the new 991 GT3 R its first international triumph.
Long’s maiden weekend in the Effort Racing Porsche 911 quickly went south in race two however when he was spun into the wall on the run up to the first turn on lap one.
Starting from second, Long moved across to defend from the no. 33 Nissan of JD Davison. However, the Australian didn’t let up, hitting the back of the Porsche 911 GT3 R and sending Long hard into the outside barrier, ending the Californian’s race early.
Round two of the 2016 Pirelli World Challenge takes place next weekend on the streets of St Petersburg, Florida. Keep an eye on Total911.com’s dedicated motorsport section for all the news and race results.