PARSIPPANY, N.J. – Bryce Miller and Sascha Maassen return to American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón action in this Saturday’s Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge on the strength of back-to-back top 10 finishes in the Paul Miller Racing No. 48 Chopard/Marquis Jet/TOTAL/IPC Porsche 911 GT3 RSR.
The duo scored a season-best result of sixth early last month at Lime Rock Park and followed that run with a 10th-place performance at Canada’s Mosport International Raceway two weeks ago. Those two results give the team some momentum heading into this weekend’s visit to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, but Bryce Miller believes they could take another step forward thanks to a new Yokohama tire they will debut this weekend.
“We have a new tire coming for Mid-Ohio and the team is really hungry after Mosport so I’m quite excited,” Miller said. “You can feel the momentum and we keep making progress every race.”
Miller points to the fact that Yokohama provided a new front tire to the team prior to Lime Rock, which led to their spike in performance at that race. He’s cognizant that introducing a new tire on a race weekend can make things more difficult in the car setup department, but the payoff could be huge.
“If we can figure it out quickly and the tire is, again, a big improvement, I think we will see some of that result right away,” he explained. “Sometimes your race weekend turns into a tire test to some degree, but it’s kind of a necessary evil, because how do we move forward? It’s not like we’re going to deny the opportunity to have a better tire.”
While they familiarize themselves with the new tire this weekend, both drivers are plenty familiar with the 2.258-mile, 13-turn Mid-Ohio road circuit. Miller made his lone ALMS appearance at the venue last year when he finished fourth in the GTC class, but he also made two GRAND-AM starts at Mid-Ohio in 2008 and ’09.
Maassen, meanwhile, will be making his sixth Mid-Ohio appearance this weekend. Highlights from his previous ALMS events at the circuit include an overall pole position in 2006, back-to-back runner-up results (LMP2 and overall) in 2006 and 2007 and a GT-class pole position in his inaugural visit back in 2001.
“Mid-Ohio is one of my favorite tracks and I am looking forward to this event,” Maassen said. “I agree with Bryce, we are making progress every race. The team, the drivers and our technical partners, Porsche and Yokohama, are making progress.”
Their efforts to continue that progress get underway officially on Friday morning with practice from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. ET. A second practice will be held from 1:15 to 2:15 p.m. and the team then has a quick turnaround to get ready for the 15-minute qualifying session, which starts at 2:40 p.m.
Saturday’s race day schedule begins with a 25-minute warm-up session from 8:45 to 9:10 a.m. ET. From 12:00 Noon to 1:00 p.m., Miller and Maassen will participate in the ALMS all-driver autograph session behind their team transporter in the main competitor paddock and the green flag will drop on the two-hour and 45-minute Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge at 3:30 p.m. ET.
ESPN3.com will offer live broadcasts in the United States for both qualifying and the race. The qualifying broadcast begins at 2:20 p.m. ET on Friday afternoon with the race broadcast slated to start at 3:15 p.m. ET on Saturday. ESPN2 will offer a tape-delayed television broadcast at 10:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, August 7. Live audio is available on RadioLeMans.com and Live Timing & Scoring data from every session is also available at AmericanLeMans.com.
Paul Miller Racing is among the top GT teams competing in North American sports car road racing. In 2011, the team will contest the full American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón, as well as the Rolex 24 At Daytona. The team enjoys a long-standing relationship with Porsche and competes with the support of four international sponsors in Chopard, Marquis Jet, IPC Information Systems and TOTAL Lubricants.
Follow the team on Twitter @paulmilleracing and @bryceracer and become a Facebook fan at facebook.com/paulmillerracing and Facebook.com/brycemiller.net.