BOWMANVILLE, Ontario, Canada (July 22, 2012)– Bryce Miller and Sascha Maassen picked up their best result since the 2012 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón season opener in Sunday’s Grand Prix of Mosport at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in the Paul Miller Racing No. 48 Dunlop/Chopard/TOTAL Porsche 911 GT3 RSR.
Miller crossed the finish line in sixth place, but the No. 48 Porsche was promoted to fifth when ALMS officials disqualified the race-winning No. 45 Porsche. As a result, Miller and Maassen matched their season-best outing in the 2012 ALMS season-opening 12 Hours of Sebring. It was the team’s fourth top-eight result in five races this season.
“We had a good race,” said team owner Paul Miller. “We took a significant step in our performance, the crew did a great job and we had a great race car. We made a mistake in the pits with a speed limit penalty, which cost us at least one position and maybe two, but we’re really happy with the race car and with the step we took. The tires were fantastic, and it was very competitive with Andy Lally and Jorg Muller and a couple other guys.”
The No. 48 Porsche spent a fair amount of time in the top five during the two-hour and 45-minute race. However, a drive-through penalty following the team’s final pit stop for speeding on pit lane forced Miller to play catch up for the final hour of the race.
The drive-through penalty ultimately forced the No. 48 off the lead lap, but Miller gamely battled Lally in the No. 44 Porsche and Muller in the No. 56 BMW over the final hour of the race. He managed to keep them in his mirrors on a restart and through a frenetic final 10 minutes.
“I thought I was going to be able to benefit from the way I was able to manage the traffic leading up to the last caution, but then at the restart, there was a P2 battle going on,” Bryce explained. “Going into Turn 2, four of them were fighting for position and one of them really was very aggressive and got into me pretty good and pushed us off line. Our advantage was lost and we were just right back into it. We were just trading times on the watch.
“The team gave us an awesome car that I could really lean on and rely on lap after lap. It was consistent and it gave me a lot of confidence. That’s what you need in a race like that with other really good drivers. In the final laps of the race, you need a good car that you know you can have confidence in. Hat’s off to the crew for doing a great job and really stepping up their game and making it happen.”
Maassen placed the No. 48 Dunlop/Chopard/TOTAL Porsche seventh on the starting grid in Saturday’s qualifying session with a time of 1:16.963 (115.022 mph). He moved up as high as fourth in the GT running order, and was fifth when he pitted to turn the car over to Miller with just over an hour remaining.
“The race was very good,” Maassen said. “Everybody in the team did a great job and the Porsche and the Dunlop tires worked very well. I feel confident that we continue to improve and learn more. Thank you Paul Miller Racing.”
Next up for Miller, Maassen and the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing team is the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio on August 2-4. As has been the case since the race at Lime Rock Park two weeks ago, the ALMS schedule has races on every other weekend through mid-September.
Like Maassen, Bryce Miller believes today’s run could be a catalyst for more solid performances in the weeks to come.
“I’m really encouraged and excited for what lies ahead for us,” he said. “I think there’s a lot of promise and potential going forward. We just have to stick to our game plan and keep working hard. This series of races that are coming up, it’s going to be every other weekend, so I think this is a real morale boost for the team during this time in the season. They’re just all working so hard in this every other weekend sequence.”
PHOTO: The No. 48 Dunlop/Chopard/TOTAL Porsche leads the No. 02 Ferrari at the Grand Prix of Mosport. Credit: Bob Chapman/Autosport Image