As most of you know, Patrick Long is the only North American employed as a Porsche factory driver. His achievements are long and storied including, three-time ALMS GT driver’s champion, class winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Rolex 24 At Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans. After this past weekend, he can add winner of the Baja 1000 to that list.
Racing with co-drivers Rafael Navarro IV, Vic Bruckmann, Rafael Navarro III and Steve EugenioTaking, Long and team took the fight against Neurofibromatosis South of the Border to one of the most demanding tests of man and machinery on the planet, the Baja 1000. In the inaugural Children’s Tumor Foundation (CTF) Racing4Research (R4R) Pete's Camp Racing SCORE Lites Jimco-VW buggy the team earned a dominating class victory in the legendary off-road race.
Navarro IV – better known in racing circles as “R4” or “Cuatro” – and the CTF/R4R crew shook off a surprise flat tire just 15 miles from the finish and still brought the No. 1209 CTF/R4R Pete’s Camp Racing SCORE Lites Jimco-VW Buggy across the line comfortably clear of the second-place finisher.
Bruckmann moved into the lead during his race-opening shift and following drivers Long, Eugenio, R4’s father Navarro III, and finishing driver Cuatro (left) never had anything close to a major issue in the overnight Friday and Saturday race.
The Baja effort was organized by CTF’s Racing4Research motorsports-based fundraising program that is dedicated to improving the health and well-being of individuals and families affected by Neurofibromatosis – known simply as NF – which is a common yet under-recognized genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow on nerves throughout the body.
NF is a more common disorder than many more widely known illnesses, including cystic fibrosis and Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and can lead to blindness, bone abnormalities, cancer and excruciating and disabling pain. It’s found in one of every 3,000 children born. Donations to CTF/R4R in recognition of the winning Baja 1000 effort can be made at http://ctf.kintera.org/r4r2014/baja1000.
The Baja 1000 class win came in the first attempt at the race for CTF/R4R and top sports car road racing champion Long, but Bruckmann and the Navarros added what had been an elusive 1000 title to previous victories in the Baja 500.
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[All Pictures via Racing4Research's Twitter feed]