American sports car star Patrick Long will serve as the latest Online Driving Instructor for its the Road Racing Driver's Club's website, www.SAFEisFAST.com <http://safeisfast.com/>. Beginning today and continuing through next Sunday, May 5, questions can be sent to Long through the site. His answers will be posted commencing Monday, May 6.
A Porsche factory driver since 2003, Long can count two GT class victories at the Le Mans 24 Hours race among his list of accomplishments which also include 21 race wins and three championships in American Le Mans Series competition. In recent years he has been instrumental in providing opportunities for several other talented young North American drivers to follow in his footsteps.
Like so many of today's top drivers, Long began his career in karting, at age 8, notching numerous wins and championships both in America and Europe. The California native maintained his trans-Atlantic options when he graduated to cars in 1999, competing in the French Elf Campus series and the Skip Barber Racing School, where after much deliberation he turned down a coveted “Big Scholarship” prize in order to contest the British Formula Ford Championship. After finishing a close second in the 2001 title-chase, Long stepped up to Formula Renault where he again proved himself as a race winner and was invited to attend the inaugural Red Bull F1 Driver Search. He didn't win but the experience led to a pivotal point in his career when he was selected to race for the UPS Porsche Junior factory team in Germany in 2003.
Long, now 31, has never looked back. In addition to his Le Mans triumphs, Long also has won at Daytona, Sebring and Petit Le Mans, and raced impressively in NASCAR and Australian V8 Supercars. He is acknowledged as a fine ambassador for Porsche – and the sport in general – as well as a sought after driver coach.
“I have great memories of roaming the pit lane at CART events in the late '90s just hoping to get a little advice from some of my heroes,” remembers Long. “It's really cool to see that SAFEisFAST.com has nailed it with "Ask A Pro," giving the next generation a lot of the answers we were all looking for one weekend at a time. I really look forward to offering my take on some of the questions I receive.”
SAFEisFAST.com is a free online resource made possible by a grant from the FIA Institute for Motor Sport Safety and Sustainability. The website comprises a selection of instructional video tutorials as well as a wealth of information through its “Ask A Pro” Question & Answer features, which offer advice from an array of industry experts covering topics such as safety, fitness, mental skills, race craft, career development, engineering, sponsorship and marketing.
Contributors to the program have included Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button, IndyCar champions Dario Franchitti and Gil de Ferran, Le Mans 24 Hours winner Alexander Wurz, sports car champions Adrian Fernandez, Joey Hand and Andy Lally, technical experts Brandon Fry and Jay O'Connell, mental and physical preparation specialists Dr. Jacques Dallaire and Jim Leo, and, most recently, Target Chip Ganassi Racing Managing Director Mike Hull.