AUSTIN, Texas (September 21, 2013) – A race that had the pace and performance needed for a victory but not the luck ended with a frustrating ninth-place finish Saturday for Bryce Miller, Marco Holzer and the No. 48 Chopard/TOTAL Porsche 911 GT3 RSR in the inaugural American Le Mans Series (ALMS) presented by Tequila Patrón race at Circuit of The Americas (COTA).
Starting driver Miller rolled off from sixth on the grid when the green flag waved and stayed in touch with the leaders throughout his opening stint. Near the end of the 45-minute shift, however, Miller began to experience some handling issues that were the first signs of a problem in the left-rear corner of the Chopard/TOTAL Porsche.
“Definitely, toward the last three quarters of my run the car started to move around a lot,” Miller said. “I called in a possible broken sway bar but then I knew it wasn’t because the condition was creeping and getting worse.”
Holzer took over for Miller during the team’s first stop but only did one lap before returning to the pits for extended and unscheduled repairs. The movement from the broken upright had cut the left rear brake line, moved the brake caliper and sheered the drive pins.
“Overall over the weekend we had one of the fastest cars, we had one of the fastest laps in the race, and we were also consistent,” Holzer said. “I am really disappointed that we had the problem because today would have been for sure a podium, maybe even a win.”
Holzer returned the No. 48 to the race 10 laps down after a 22 minute pit stop. The Chopard/TOTAL Porsche was at the tail-end of the GT class but combined some field attrition, pitside strategy calls and a race-lap pace on par with the leaders to climb to ninth at the finish.
The Austin disappointment was fueled by the fact that the Paul Miller Racing team quite possibly had its best car of the season at COTA. The team topped the GT class ranks in a pre-race Tuesday test session and ran competitively each and every time on track. Holzer set the second fastest GT lap of the race early in his driving shift in the repaired Porsche.
“All week we were sitting on a prize,” Miller said. “We all knew we kind of had something to race with today. It’s always hard to know what you’re losing, what you are missing, so that is what we have to leave behind today, but this was a tough one.”
Despite the team’s second-straight disappointment – the team’s Porsche was eliminated and sustained heavy damage in the multi-car start accident one race ago in Baltimore – the No. 48 Chopard/TOTAL Porsche 911 GT3 RSR may still be the highest ranked single-car and privateer entry in the ALMS GT Team Championship. Point standings are usually issued the week following a race.
An encore telecast of the Circuit of The Americas ALMS race airs, Sunday, September 22, on ESPN2 at 1 p.m. EDT/10 a.m. PDT.
Next up for the American Le Mans Series and Paul Miller Racing is the Oak Tree Grand Prix at Virginia International Raceway (VIR), October 3 – 5. The race can be seen live online at ESPN3 on Saturday, October 5, at 2 p.m. EDT with an encore telecast the next day, Sunday, October 6, at 5:30 p.m. EDT/2:30 p.m. PT on ESPN2.
“We had the car for it today, but you have to live with it, and look now to the next race at VIR,” Holzer said. “We have a strong car now and we will be back even stronger in Virginia.”
Paul Miller Racing: Paul Miller Racing is among the top GT teams competing in North American sports car road racing. In 2013, the team will contest the full American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón with lead driver Bryce Miller and season-long teammate Marco Holzer. The team enjoys a long-standing relationship with Porsche and competes with the support of Chopard, TOTAL Lubricants, Search Marketing Group and Motegi Racing, and races exclusively on Michelin tires. The team is affiliated with Paul Miller Porsche, a 2013 Porsche Premier Dealer Award recipient.
Follow the team on Twitter @paulmilleracing @bryceracer @marcoholzer and become a Facebook fan at Facebook.com/paulmillerracing and Facebook.com/brycemiller.net. Learn more about the team at www.paulmillerracing.com.