(March 6, 2010) — Miller Barrett Racing didn’t get to see the checkered flag at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Saturday night. The team was running 10th in the GT class when a gearbox failure zapped its No. 48 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup out of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series race presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16.
Luke Hines of Essex, England, drove the first 42 minutes of the two-hour 45-minute race on the 2.3-mile infield road course in Homestead, Fla. He started eighth in class, but lost two positions to the more powerful Mazda cars. Bryce Miller of Summit, N.J., took the wheel for the second stint, holding 10th in class until he stopped for tires and fuel at 1h24. He reported problems with the gearbox and differential 11 minutes later, then lost all but sixth gear. The car was retired from the race.
Miller Barrett Racing was the lead Porsche team for most of the first hour of the race, but struggled to hold a top-10 position behind the Mazdas. Team owner Paul Miller was disappointed the top Porsche finished only eighth in GT, three laps behind the class leader.
“We are obviously very disappointed at the pace of the Porsches. For the fastest Porsche to finish three laps down from the front is slightly absurd,” he said. “However, we feel confident that GRAND-AM will make the necessary adjustments to equalize the field.”
“At least we didn’t get DP’d this time!” Bryce Miller said, referring to the team’s bad luck in being knocked out of three races by cars in the Daytona Prototype class, including last year’s Rolex Series race in Homestead.
“This is disappointing because the team put together a good effort and we were running competitively all weekend. I think we had a really good car to take to the front and stir things up a little bit. It’s a true accomplishment for such a young team to lead the charge for Porsche.
“We had a situation with our gearbox that retired the car. I think as the problem was progressing throughout the race, it was affecting the differential of the car and exacerbating tire wear and hurting us for the duration of the stint. We couldn’t maintain consistency. But we take some good lessons with us to the next race. Luke and I are getting on really well and he’s done a great job coming up to speed and learning the car and track. I think we have some good races ahead of us.”
Hines was happy with his performance – the first time he’s driven the opening stint in a Rolex Series race.
“It’s the first time I’ve started a race in GRAND-AM, so that’s a good experience, a monkey off my back,” he said. “Not knowing anyone or the characteristic of the other competitors, that felt pretty good [to do so well]. I thought we did the best we could as a team. We worked really hard, but we just couldn’t hold onto the lead in pack.”
Miller Barrett Racing will carry the colors of team sponsors Marquis Jet, Grand Prix Racewear, IPC Systems and TOTAL Lubricants to the next Rolex Series race, scheduled for April 10 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala.
Miller Barrett Racing competes with the support of four international sponsors. Marquis Jet is the recognized leader in private jet cards because it’s the only program that offers exclusive access to NetJets – the gold standard in private aviation – 25 hours at a time. Grand Prix Racewear is a respected supplier of motorsport protective clothing and driver accessories, based at Silverstone Circuit in England. The company offers worldwide delivery of 15,000 product lines. IPC Information Systems is a leading provider of mission-critical communications solutions to financial services firms. TOTAL Lubricants is the world’s fourth-largest publicly traded integrated international oil and gas company.