BALTIMORE, Md. (September 2, 2012)– Saturday’s two-hour Baltimore Sports Car Challenge turned out to be quite challenging for a number of American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón, including No. 48 Dunlop/Chopard/TOTAL Porsche 911 GT3 RSR co-drivers Bryce Miller and Sascha Maassen.
With hopes of besting last year’s top finish of fourth in the inaugural running of the Baltimore Grand Prix, Miller looked to be well on his way during his opening stint in the Paul Miller Racing machine. After a Turn 1 pile-up that nearly stopped competitors dead on the track, Miller emerged in second place.
In the shadows of Camden Yards, home to the Orioles, the team chose an aggressive race strategy. They elected to bring Miller onto pit lane just 15-minutes into the race and have Maassen run the remaining hour-and-45 minutes.
Maassen set out to keep the No. 48 Dunlop/Chopard/TOTAL Porsche 911 in contention at the front. But the heat, 90-degree temperatures and 100 percent humidity, would conspire to foil the team’s run at a podium finish.
On Lap 40, Maassen had to pit and get out of the No. 48 Porsche due to heat exhaustion, as there was an issue with the car’s driver cooling system that was malfunctioning. This forced the team to pit the car out of sequence and make an extra driver change putting Miller back in the car for the run to the finish.
“It was a tough battle today,” Miller said. “We had some driver cooling aides that weren’t working with Sascha’s suit hookup. He struggled with that during his stint. The heat was a big issue. We had to make an extra stop and get him out and I had to get in. We just didn’t have everything fall into place this weekend. We rolled off the truck probably the best we had all year. But we chased it ever since then. We have to go back, reset, and get ready for Virginia.”
Maassen was set for an Iron Man-like finish, but the malfunction in the cooling suit was too much to handle.
“We had a good strategy planned,” Maassen said. “I got in 15-minutes into the race, which meant I would have to be out there for one hour and 45 minutes, not a problem if everything is working correctly. But it wasn’t. I got really heated up in the car and for safety I had to pit and put Bryce back in. There is just too much to loose with the tight racing, I didn’t want to jeopardize the car, the other competitors and of course myself. I was able to get cooled down and drink some water and I am fine now.”
For team owner Paul Miller, he knows that sometimes things just don’t go your way.
“We actually had a strong weekend in many areas: we had a good race car for the race and our stops were good and Bryce and Sascha did a strong job – as usual,” said Paul Miller. “We learned some things, as well, so overall, the result wasn’t what we wanted, for sure, but we’re all encouraged about our ability to move forward.”
Next up for the No. 48 team is the inaugural ALMS visit to Virginia International Raceway in Alton, Va. The four-hour VIR 240 is scheduled for Saturday, September 15.
PHOTO: The No. 48 Dunlop/Chopard/TOTAL Porsche in action at the Baltimore Sports Car Challenge. Credit: Bob Chapman/Autosport Image