After some issues with standing starts last year, Pirelli World Challenge moved to all rolling starts for its flagship GT/GTA/GT Cup run group. Unfortunately, even rolling starts go wrong sometimes, as Porsche factory driver Patrick Long found out during Race 2 of the series’ weekend at Circuit of the Americas.
Patrick Long is driving the No. 31 Porsche 911 GT3-R this weekend for Effort Racing. He won the first race of the Pirelli World Challenge season, edging out the Nissan GT-R GT3 Always Evolving Racing’s Bryan Heitkotter for the win in Race 1.
Unfortunately, Heitkotter’s teammate James Davison in the No. 33 GT-R came together with Long on the start for the season’s second race. Davison was behind Long and when Long made a move to the outside of the track, Davison got into Long’s rear bumper. The 911 spun into the barrier along the front straight.
Fortunately, Long radioed back to his team that he was fine shortly after the impact. The race went to a full-course yellow shortly afterwards to clean up the yard sale of debris along the front straight, and Davison was given a stop and 10-second hold penalty for the contact afterwards.
Davison had claimed the lead shortly after the impact and kept going hard to build up a short lead before coming in to serve his penalty. Heitkotter was behind him in second place and took the lead after Davison was black flagged into the pits.
While standing starts have more of a reputation for chaos and contact, any time you have a number or race cars being told to speed up or slow down, you’re going to have a lot of unpredictability in the mix, especially as they all fight for position heading into the first corner of the race.
If you’re not watching right now, you should be. This race is getting crazy, with a close battle for the lead heating up.
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