On Saturday, Wright Motorsports announced that they will be returning to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship full-time in 2018. Patrick Long, who won the 2017 Pirelli World Challenge GT Sprint and GT Overall championships with the Ohio-based team, will retain his seat in the Porsche. Long will be joined by two-time defending GTD champion Christina Nielsen for the full season.
Long, who has not competed regularly in IMSA since 2014, is happy to be back.
“I am thrilled to continue my journey with Wright Motorsports for the 2018 season,” Long stated. “We will have our work cut out for us starting the season with two of the biggest international endurance races in sports car racing, the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring, but I am confident in the group’s ability. Christina has been on an amazing run with her two titles over the last two years and I want to blend that momentum with our 2017 title and aim for victories right out of the box. I’m very excited to get things started at Daytona.”
For Nielsen, she hasn’t raced a Porsche since a part-time schedule with NGT Motorsport in 2014. Regardless, she’s still looking forward to her new digs.
“I am really looking forward to being back in the IMSA WeatherTech Championship and I’m absolutely thrilled that we’ve come up with such a strong combination with Wright Motorsports and Porsche,” Nielsen said. “I’ve known John Wright since 2014 when I raced against him in the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge. We’ve always tried to put something together, but there was never the right opportunity. Luckily an opportunity came up for 2018 and we were there to both grab it. I know I’ll be working with some very experienced and competent people who know what it takes and I can’t wait for the season to start.”
Wright Motorsports previously competed in the series shortly after the ALMS/Grand-Am merger. The team moved up from the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge in collaboration with Snow Racing. The team ran a part-time schedule in 2014, then joined up with Dempsey Racing to form Dempsey Wright Motorsports. Running a paint scheme inspired by Brumos Racing, the team ran four races in 2015. The team’s best finish was second in class at Road Atlanta in 2014. Patrick Dempsey, Jan Heylen and Madison Snow handled the driving.
The team did not announce additional driver(s) for the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup races. The identity of those drivers will be revealed at a later date.
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Phil Allaway has three primary roles at Frontstretch. He's the manager of the site's FREE e-mail newsletter that publishes Monday-Friday and occasionally on weekends. He keeps TV broadcasters honest with weekly editions of Couch Potato Tuesday and serves as the site's Sports Car racing editor.
Outside of Frontstretch, Phil is the press officer for Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y. He covers all the action on the high-banked dirt track from regular DIRTcar Modified racing to occasional visits from touring series such as the Super DIRTcar Series.