The career of Patrick Lindsey, one of the Project1 Porsche RSR drivers, will hit a high point on the weekend of 16/17 June 2018 when he climbs into the cockpit of the #56 car. Lindsey will compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the first time this weekend, the second round of the newly formed WEC Super Season.
There aren’t many racing drivers who can claim that their racing career started with drag racing on the streets of Los Angeles, only to reach a pinnacle on the streets of Le Mans, France. Well, this might be stretching the point just a little, but it is essentially true because part of the legendary Le Mans circuit uses roads that are used throughout the year by the residents of Le Mans.
Lindsey spent his early years honing his skills on the quiet roads of Bakersfield, California and in street cars racing for small profits on the streets of Los Angeles, before progressing to the top of North America’s sports car racing scene. His love of cars, which has been a growing force since childhood, was fuelled by his father who had a healthy appreciation for American ingenuity. Upon turning 16, Lindsey found himself behind the wheel of his father’s Chevy pickup driving just about everywhere he could.
But Bakersfield didn’t offer many places to drive for the teenage crowd. So, he and his friends found a different way to fulfil their need for speed. With a 454-big block, a home-grown nitrous kit and the exhaust cut-outs open, Lindsey lined up his Chevy pickup next to any- and all-takers. Sometimes for money, sometimes for glory but always for fun. Lindsey had a great advantage in his Chevy; competitors were unassuming of a pickup truck and a 16-year-old boy’s ability.
By this time, Lindsey had completed a Skip Barber Racing School segment. His parents enrolled him to give Lindsey a better grounding in driving, hoping to make him a safer driver. But in 1998 it gave him the confidence to begin his street racing career.
Lindsey graduated from his supped-up Chevy truck to a Camaro Z28 in 2001. The Camaro was the first car Lindsey ever took to a track event, a track day at Buttonwillow Raceway Park. Track days are non-competition events that allow car lovers and amateur racers to hone their driving skills. For Lindsey, it was at the track where developed an interest in motor racing and the German manufacturer, Audi. The Camaro was quickly traded for a 2001 Audi S4 Avant.
Lindsey would take the Audi from the back roads of Bakersfield and Buttonwillow to the streets of Los Angeles, California. The Audi S4 Avant was his tried and trusted weapon of battle, and he took every opportunity to open the throttle and let it run. Every open road was a track to Lindsey, but in 2003, his love for racing the vehicle freely, would turn nearly fatal.
While driving his brother from Bakersfield to Santa Barbara, California, on Highway 33, a remote back road, Lindsey got the itch to show off his car’s performance. As they took one of the many winding turns, the car understeered. The Audi slid off the road and rolled violently down the mountain for 150 feet, before coming to a stop. Lindsey and his brother crawled out of the back hatch.
Uninjured, the brothers climbed back to safety, but once back on the road Lindsey realised they had no mobile phone signal, and were unable to call for help. As the only available option, he and his brother walked 10-miles until they found a signal and were able to call a friend to pick them up. Lindsey’s friend rescued the brothers and took them on to Santa Barbara, leaving the wrecked car behind.
After his accident, Lindsey kept his high-speed adventures to the track; his back country roads were no longer safe for his hobby. He purchased a new Audi S4, turning it into his first road race car, and he began competing in NASA club racing events. In 2006, he won his first championship prompting Lindsey to turn his hobby into a career.
Lindsey was a natural front-runner in club racing and nearly outstayed his welcome. In his last years of club racing, he withstood accusations of cheating and calls to have his equipment put through tech in duplicates before he took the next step up the racing ladder. Finally, in 2007, he was ready to take on a professional series. Lindsey joined Horton Autosport with a Mazda 6 Touring Car and began racing in Pirelli World Challenge series.
From 2007 to 2009 he built up his race-craft with Horton Autosport in the Mazda, and in the process, he unwittingly helped build a relationship. In 2008, Lindsey’s sister Kielle Lindsey, came to his race at VIRginia International Raceway, and over the weekend, his sister was introduced to John Horton, Lindsey’s engineer and team owner. Horton and Kielle Lindsey would marry one year later, and his racing soon morphed from a career into a family business.
In 2010, Lindsey joined another racing family, Porsche Motorsport North America. This was Lindsey’s first year in a Porsche 911 GT3, and so he continued to strive for the top ranks of racing. In 2011, he would try his hand at the next level, GrandAm Rolex Sports Car series, while the following year Horton Autosport entered in GrandAm for a full season with Porsche.
In 2013, the full transformation would take place. Lindsey and Horton began a sponsorship with Park Place Porsche of Dallas and created Park Place Motorsports. With support from Park Place Porsche, Lindsey also began receiving support from Porsche Motorsport North America. Lindsey was paired with top sports car drivers and Porsche factory drivers to help build his team and his race craft. Porsche factory drivers he’s been privileged to learn from include Patrick Long, Kevin Estre and long-term professional and current co-driver, Jörg Bergmeister.
The 2018 Le Mans 24 Hours will provide Patrick Lindsey with an excellent opportunity to take that next step on the ladder of his career. Over the weekend of 16/17 June 2018, he will be part of the 180-strong squad of drivers looking to leave their mark on this legendary race. Supported by a team of experienced mechanics and with the encouragement of his team mates and team engineer, Patrick Lindsey will be well placed to finish strongly, and to begin to write his own chapter on this great race.
Written by: Lindsay Lindsey
Images by: Lindsey Public Relations & Project 1 & Virtual Motorpix/Glen Smale