DANVILLE, Va. (October 5, 2013) – The promising potential of a season-best qualifying effort, and an early race run in the top three, literally came crashing down Saturday for the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR team when team works Porsche driver Marco Holzer escaped injury in a spectacular two-car accident in the Oak Tree Grand Prix at Virginia International Raceway (VIR).
On Friday, Holzer gave the Paul Miller Racing team a 2013-best fourth-place qualifying effort. Then, race starting driver Bryce Miller, aided by a pitside strategy call by the Paul Miller Racing team, parlayed the second-row starting berth into a top-three run in the early stages of Saturday’s 2-3/4 hour race.
“We stayed out with a Viper and the Ferrari, it was a good strategy call, but a yellow came a little earlier than we would have liked to make it all play out,” Miller said. “Everybody else just needed a splash at that point, and we needed a full tank.”
After the extended stop for the extra fuel, Holzer, who took over for Miller early in the race’s second hour, and the team then had a break they needed with another caution 75 minutes from the finish. Holzer closed on the field, moved up in the order, and was working with the team in planning the final run to the finish.
Back under green and on pace with one hour to go, Holzer entered VIR’s fast uphill esses section in a close pack of cars, and next to the slower No. 31 GTC-class Porsche 911 GT3 Cup of Eduardo Cisneros.
“It happened so fast, I am not sure what happened,” Holzer said. “I thought I was by the 31 car and continued to complete the corner, and then we touched, and I spun off the track. I am thankful Porsche is such a safe race car.”
The high-speed accident saw both Porsches make heavy contact with the VIR barriers. Cisneros was also uninjured even though his car flipped before ending up on all four wheels on top of a tire barrier.
The VIR crash was the No. 48 Chopard/TOTAL Porsche’s second major impact in the last three races. Miller was uninjured when the No. 48 was hit no less than five times in the now infamous race start accident Labor Day Weekend at the Baltimore Grand Prix.
The team also suffered the hardship of an errant left rear suspension issue one race later at Circuit of The Americas in Texas that knocked the No. 48 from contention after repeatedly demonstrating a race-winning pace.
“It just burns this team,” Bryce Miller said. “We have worked so hard through so much lately, and this is just a real morale buster. Our car really took a beating this time. It is always tough conditions here, and we know this kind of stuff can happen. We have one more shot this year still at Petit Le Mans and we are going to put all of this behind us there.”
An encore telecast of the Oak Tree Grand Prix is scheduled for tomorrow, Sunday, October 6, at 5:30 p.m. EDT/2:30 p.m. PT on ESPN2.
Next up for Paul Miller Racing and the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) presented by Tequila Patrón is the season-ending Petit Le Mans, October 16 – 19, at Road Atlanta.