Patrick Long turned the second-fastest time in the maiden voyage for the #06 CORE autosport Porsche 911 GT3 RSR in GT qualifying at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Monterey, Calif. - Patrick Long (USA) took the new CORE autosport team Porsche 911 GT3 RSR onto the front row of the grid in qualifying for tomorrow's American Le Mans Series race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Long, who will share the Porsche with British driver Tom Kimber-Smith, finished less than a tenth of a second off the time of the pole-sitting Ferrari, was enthusiastic as he spoke about the effort of the whole team in their new GT venture.
"I'm kind of emotional about it. It's really awesome. These guys have worked so hard since January and I would have taken a top-five and been happy, so this is amazing. It's still a long road, but each of these milestones continues to remind this team how good they are and we just have to keep building off of it," said Long, who has many memorable wins at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
"Our engineer Gary Davies has stuck to his plans and philosophies and he's made me a believer overnight. We've worked with Porsche and Michelin since we rolled this car out, but ultimately Gary and our team manager Morgan Brady have been steering this ship. It's really cool to see them come from a clean slate and create something. We're still going to remain modest because these are early days and it's going to be a long summer," said Long.
Bryan Sellers (USA) was third in qualifying in his Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, and proved that their first-row qualifying position at Long Beach and their race-leading laps were no fluke.
"It's a great result. It's funny because it's by far the best we've qualified here. If you would have come into the weekend and told us we would qualify third, we'd say that's great and take it. But you get so close to the pole, and you want that extra little bit. That competitive side of you wants you to be able to get that little bit more. It's the closest we've ever been to the leaders here by a longshot. That shows the constant improvement from the team and the Falken Tires. Now we go into morning warm up and focus on race performance and race longevity. Try and plan the best we can and see where it leads us," said Sellers.
Sellers, who has three ALMS victories in the Falken Porsche including two wins on street courses, will share his ride tomorrow with Porsche factory driver Wolf Henzler (Germany).
The third Porsche in GT, the Paul Miller Racing car driven by Bryce Miller (USA) and Marco Holzer (Germany) qualified tenth.
In the GT Challenge class (GTC) for evenly-matched Porsche 911 GT3 Cup races, Jeroen Bleekemolen (NL) set his fast lap on the third circuit of the track in the WeatherTech Alex Job Racing Porsche, and stayed ahead of the Momo NGT Porsche qualified by Nick Tandy (GB), who set his best time on lap four.
"We have been going really well since the first practice yesterday," Bleekemolen said. "The car has been handling really well and our lap times have shown the strength of the car. We made a few small changes during practice, nothing major. Qualifying was a close fight with the others. I put in a fast lap early on in the session and I was quite happy with the run. I stayed out in case anyone would go faster. Tomorrow we will need to stay out of trouble and keep the car clean. We need to have a good strategy, strong pit stops and Cooper and I maintain our strong pace."
The American Le Mans Monterey takes the green flag at 6:30pm Eastern time, and runs for four hours. Fans can view the race live on www.espn3.com, and follow along with live scoring at www.alms.com. A shortened version of the event will be telecast on ESPN2 at 4:00pm Eastern.
Complete qualifying results are available at www.alms.com.
High resolution photos of today's practice and qualifying of Porsches at ALMS Long Beach are available at the following link:
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