Porsche factory driver Patrick Long says he believes the GT2 class of the American Le Mans Series will go to a whole new level in 2009, with the addition of a number of leading outfits to the class for the season ahead.
BMW will make a return to the series with the Rahal Letterman Racing team running a pair of new M3s during the 2009 campaign, while the factory Corvette Racing outfit will also move into GT2 later in the year – once it has chased more GT1 success in the Le Mans 24 Hours.
The two new factory teams will join what is already a stellar GT2 field, with Ferrari, Porsche, Panoz, Ford, Aston Martin and Dodge all set to be represented again this season and Long – who will line up in one of Flying Lizard's new 2009-spec Porsches – said he felt the class was going to be more competitive that ever.
“I don't see the GT2 class ever being as competitive as it will be this season,” he said. “With BMW returning and the GM guys coming over as well, you have huge manufacturers involved.”
Long's #45 Porsche ended the Sebring test with the quickest time in GT2, which came hot on the heels of he and team-mate Jorg Bergmeister securing class honours in the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
“To get Le Mans quite early in my career, as well as Petit Le Mans and Sebring, I often wondered if I was ever going to win the Rolex,” he said. “To get it is surreal and gives me a phenomenal, tingling kind of feeling.
“It's a great way to start the year. I'm back in GT racing and it's great to be back with Jorg again. We're really going for the ALMS championship with Flying Lizard.”