Welcome to this month’s edition of Ask a Gearhead, our Q&A series with enthusiasts and influencers in the automotive space. Here, we talk to journalists, personalities, and gearheads to bring you varying perspectives on driving and life. Each month features a different face but the same set of questions. Last month we spoke with Doug DeMuro, and this month we are pleased to feature Patrick Long!
Patrick Long is a Porsche factory racer from Manhattan Beach, California, who is currently driving in Pirelli Word Challenge’s GT class for Wright Motorsports. His racing résumé includes class wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Rolex 24 At Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring, and three ALMS Driver’s Championships. He also holds the distinction of being the only North American employed as a factory racing driver by Porsche. Patrick is the co-founder of Luftgekühlt, a gathering that celebrates classic air-cooled Porsches, which Turo was fortunate enough to be invited to this year.
WHAT WAS YOUR FAMILY CAR GROWING UP?
It was a blue 1986 Ford Ranger truck with a camper shell on it. We used to travel as a family, and we’d build a makeshift bed in the back of that thing and travel the country. My dad was a carpenter and that was both his work truck and our family truck.
WORST THING YOU’VE EVER DRIVEN?
When I was living in the UK chasing a career in racing, all I could afford was a Vauxhall Calibra that I bought at a gas station in Yorkshire. By the end of the year I was putting water in the radiator almost by the hour, because I probably had a head gasket and it was just burning water. I kept a bunch of old water bottles in the car and I would pull over to the side of the road when the temperature went up.
IF YOU COULD OWN JUST ONE CAR FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
The new Panamera Sport Turismo wagon. Because I have to think about having a family and going out on a track day to instruct or have fun. As an all-arounder, that would be it.
FAVORITE ROAD TRIP? (DESTINATION, JOURNEY, OR ROAD TO DRIVE)
The journey from Stuttgart to Milan, I forget the roads, but it takes you over the Alps, through Innsbruck in Austria. There’s this calm, structured, speed-limited journey up the mountains, and then you peak and come over the back side to Italy, and it’s a free-for-all descent where there’s very little in the way of speed cameras or law enforcement. It’s like a rollercoaster with the nice build-up and you go down the back with fast runs and switchbacks.
YOU’RE DIRECTING FAST & FURIOUS 9, WHAT’S THE HERO CAR?
A car built off of a 1980’s Porsche 930 Turbo, because you have the boost and the flame and the crazy antics of those cars, but maybe with race-inspired livery and a harder setup. I think that would be good to give the younger viewers some history on the heritage of racing and motorsports.
WHAT WOULD BE THE BEST ANIMAL TO RIDE IF IT WERE SCALED UP TO THE SIZE OF A HORSE?
A blue-bellied lizard. Those things are so fast, and they have so much grip. You see them climb up anything, and I think that would be an insane ride.
IS IT ACCEPTABLE TO WEAR FLIP FLOPS WHILE DRIVING? WHAT IS YOUR PREFERRED DRIVING FOOTWEAR?
I haven’t had a lot of luck with flip flops in manual cars. Any pair of shoes that is fairly narrow, like Vans, is good for me. One thing I throw a big red flag for is racing shoes in a casual environment. Racing shoes and Levi’s do not mix. That’s a big no.
WHAT DO YOU KEEP IN YOUR CAR AT ALL TIMES?
In my free time, I like to drive my 1958 356 coupe. My go-to kit is a bottle of water, a thermos of coffee, shades and a light jacket. Also a fire extinguisher, because you never know what you might run into up in the canyons.
WHAT’S YOUR MARIO KART CHARACTER?
Personally I’m a big fan of Koopa Troopa. Good grip, not a lot of acceleration.
WHO WOULD PLAY YOU IN THE BIOPIC OF YOUR LIFE? AND WHAT IS IT CALLED?
I’ll go with Ed Norton. The title would be Take Chances.
IF YOU HAD AN ICE CREAM TRUCK, WHAT SONG WOULD YOU PLAY FROM THE SPEAKER?
I would play a version of Sammy Hagar’s I Can’t Drive 55.
SINGLE LAST CAR YOU RENTED, ON ANY PLATFORM?
I was in Munich and I had an A4. It was a good ride.