ARSIPPANY, N.J. – With momentum from four consecutive top-10 finishes on their side and the fact that they led the last American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón street race, co-drivers Bryce Miller and Sascha Maassen have high hopes for their No. 48 Chopard/Marquis Jet/TOTAL/IPC Porsche 911 GT3 RSR from Paul Miller Racing heading into Saturday’s inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix.
The two-hour sprint race will be held on a two-mile, 12-turn street circuit in Downtown Baltimore. While no racecars have yet turned laps in anger around the temporary circuit, initial reviews on the circuit’s layout have been enthusiastic, what with its location adjacent to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, several nearby hotels, bars and restaurants and Camden Yards – home to Major League Baseball’s Baltimore Orioles – literally inside the temporary racetrack.
Those landmarks should make great backdrops for photography and those establishments are certainly convenient, but Miller and Maassen are most excited by the notion that this street circuit should play to the strengths of their Yokohama-shod Porsche. In the season’s lone previous street event at Long Beach in April, Maassen had the No. 48 Porsche at the head of the GT field for the first time this season before surrendering the lead when he pitted to hand the car off to Miller.
“Our last street race at Long Beach was promising as we led a couple laps so I’m looking forward to this weekend,” Miller said. “We have a lot of momentum going into Baltimore. The team is hitting all their marks during their pit stops, our top speeds are improving, pit strategy has done us well, and Yokohama continues to deliver newly improved tires.”
Maassen went a step further in pointing out that the Yokohamas may have benefited the team at Long Beach. If that’s the case – and if they can avoid incidents, which is always a concern on a concrete barrier-lined street course – Saturday could be a really good day for Paul Miller Racing.
“I’ve always liked street circuits,” said Maassen. “Since we were leading the Long Beach race, I am looking forward to this event, as I think we will have our best chance of doing well. I think it is an advantage for a new team, because the more established teams have no advantage, as the track is new to everyone. I always learn new tracks quickly and the Yokohama tires were perhaps even an advantage in Long Beach…”
The No. 48 Porsche co-drivers will get their first crack at the new circuit on Friday morning during a one-hour practice session beginning at 9:25 a.m. ET. A second hour-long practice is slated for 1:40 p.m. on Friday afternoon, which will be followed almost immediately by the GT-class qualifying session from 3:00 to 3:15 p.m.
Saturday’s race day schedule begins with a 20-minute warm-up session from 10:25 to 10:45 a.m., and from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Miller and Maassen will participate in the ALMS all-driver autograph session behind their team transporter in the main competitor paddock. The green flag drops on the Time Warner Cable Road Race Showcase – Round 7 of the nine-race 2011 ALMS championship – at 4:30 p.m.
ESPN3.com will offer live broadcasts in the United States for both qualifying and the race. The qualifying broadcast begins at 2:40 p.m. ET on Friday afternoon with the race broadcast slated to start at 4:15 p.m. ET on Saturday. ABC will offer a tape-delayed television broadcast at 4:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, September 4. 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 Daytona 24 Hours. 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.