Wright Motorsports has announced it will be returning to IMSA competition in 2018 with a full-season WeatherTech SportsCar Championship entry. Sharing the seat of a GT Daytona (GTD) class Porsche 911 GT3 R will be reigning two-time GTD champion Christina Nielsen and Porsche factory ace Patrick Long.
“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,” said Nielsen, who won the last two GTD drivers’ crowns with the Scuderia Corsa team’s Ferrari, as well as placing second in 2015. “I’ve had a great run for the last three years, but it won’t be easy to do what I’ve already done. For me the biggest thing is to go into 2018 without relying on any previous results. We’ll start from scratch beginning with Daytona and go from there.
“I’m also really looking forward to being back with Porsche. I’ve known [team principal] 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.”
“I am very pleased to have this great opportunity come together in such a short time. It is a tremendous opportunity to be heading back into the endurance racing arena with such a strong program,” said team boss Wright. “In my experience, I haven’t seen too many driver combinations better to compete for a championship then what I think we will see in Patrick Long and Christina Nielsen.
Long (pictured at left, above, with Nielsen) will be entering his third consecutive season with the Wright group. Fresh off of his 2017 Pirelli World Challenge championships with the John Wright-led team’s Porsche 911 GT3 R (pictured, top), the Californian has proven to be tremendously competitive in the Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“I’m also very happy to have Patrick back for the 2018 season,” continued Wright. “Coming off this year’s championships, our momentum could not be stronger than it is now. I am looking forward to working with Christina and seeing her back behind the wheel of a Porsche. We have tried to make something happen in the past, but due to different circumstances we were never able to pull anything together. The stars have aligned to make it possible for this year and hopefully years to come.”
In his 15 years as America’s only Porsche factory driver, Long has seen victories at some the world’s most prestigious endurance events including the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the Bathurst 12 Hour, the Twelve Hours of Sebring, and Petit Le Mans.
“I am thrilled to continue my journey with Wright Motorsports for the 2018 season,” said Long. “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.”