MONTEREY, Calif. (May 12, 2012)– The No. 48 Dunlop/Chopard/TOTAL Porsche 911 GT3 RSR from Paul Miller Racing once again showed solid and consistent pace in Saturday’s six-hour American Le Mans Monterey presented by Patrón as co-drivers Bryce Miller and Sascha Maassen brought the car home 10th in the GT class.
Miller placed the No. 48 Porsche 10th on the starting grid in Friday’s qualifying session, which is where Maassen started the car on Saturday afternoon. Despite battling a case of bronchitis, Maassen put together a strong opening stint that saw him gain a few positions early on.
Unfortunately, he suffered a cut tire during the race’s second hour, which brought him onto pit road for a green-flag pit stop and dropped the No. 48 Porsche off the lead lap. Nevertheless, both Maassen and Miller continued to battle throughout the enduro and made some significant gains with the new-for-2012 race car.
“We had a huge step forward for our team because we were able to continue our progress from Sebring and Long Beach,” said Bryce Miller. “It was good to be able to show the speed comparative to the other Porsches, and I think this is a really good sign that we’re moving in the right direction and the hard work that we’re doing is paying off.”
Miller drove the race’s final stint in the No. 48, battling the No. 44 Porsche and the No. 02 Ferrari, with whom he was on the same lap. A late-race spin by the No. 02, which dropped it several laps behind, ultimately solidified a top-10 spot for Miller and Maassen, and the final hour was spent contending with Porsche factory driver Marco Holzer in the No. 44 for ninth place.
“We were running well,” said team owner Paul Miller. “It was incredibly competitive, obviously, like it always is. Once we dialed in a few things, we got rolling really well. Our times at the end were good, and we had a real shot at beating the 44 car. We had a really good race with the Flying Lizard 44 car and then we got pushed off the track at the end, but it didn’t matter. We were more interested in just establishing good pace and seeing how we could do from a pace point of view.”
With the knowledge that the pace is there in the car and improving, the Paul Miller Racing team will focus on fine-tuning its package heading into the next race, which is considered the team’s “home” event at Lime Rock Park on July 6-7.
The team expects a new, Porsche-specific Dunlop tire in time for that event, which should benefit the No. 48 Porsche.
“It’s a good sign that the Porsches are more competitive now since we got an updated aero kit before the race,” said Bryce Miller. “We’re quite proud of our team, because we didn’t receive that update kit until here for the first practice session. It’s been a good weekend, an efficient weekend.”
Photo: The No. 48 Dunlop/Chopard/TOTAL Porsche in action at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Credit: Bob Chapman/Autosport Image