Early last week Effort Racing announced they would be suspending the remainder of their 2016 Pirelli World Cup Season leaving Michael Lewis and Patrick Long without a ride. Respectively, the two stand fourth and fifth in the championship after winning three of the first seven races of the season.
Effort explained their departure as follows:
The decision stems from the current supply and demand crisis in the oil industry, an industry from which EFFORT Racing receives funding to run the championship.
In a recent analysis, the New York Times estimated the current trends of oil prices is in its worst decline since the 1990s. Although the current price of $45 a barrel is an improvement from earlier this year, it remains a far cry from what has been the normal price of $100 a barrel.
While oil companies have been making cutbacks for months, the Chicago based team has decided to suspend their 2016 campaign and focus on building sponsorship to fund the program for the 2017 championship.
Long Signs With Wright Motorsports
Then, a few days ago on the 13th of May, Long announced he would be racing with Wright Motorsports for the remainder of the season. Wright Motorsports will field a Porsche 911 GT3 R for Patrick to drive in the 13 remaining races of the 2016 Pirelli World Challenge schedule. This puts the popular Porsche factory driver back in contention for the series’ GT drivers championship. According to the release, Long has a long-time working relationship with Wright Motorsports and its owner, John Wright, as well as Michael Schein, a rookie who drives a Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R in the Pirelli World Challenge’s GTA class and already has three podium finishes in just four starts.
“This is a rare chance to take a very difficult situation and quickly turn it around,” Long said. “I’m grateful for the opportunity that John and Michael have given me. It’s been humbling, and I’m elated to be able to continue in the series. I’ve worked with John in many different programs over the years, and we’ve had a lot of success together,” he added.
Long is currently fifth in the GT driver point standings. He won the first race of the year at Circuit of the Americas in March, and was also on the podium in round five at Long Beach, Calif. in April.
The next PWC event is May 19-22 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario.