SEBRING, Fla. (March 16, 2014) – In a long day filled with all of the challenges that can be expected from a 12-hour endurance race, Paul Miller Racing brought its No. 48 Audi R8 LMS home in the 12th position in the 62nd Running of the 12 Hours of Sebring on Saturday, March 15.
The Audi team was having a routine day until contact on the track and the resulting damage forced the No. 48 to the garage shortly after the eight-hour mark. Returning to the track just 12 minutes later, the Paul Miller Racing team found themselves racing inside the top-15, yet removed from contention for a podium finish.
“The 12 Hours of Sebring is a very tough race with very tough conditions,” Bryce Miller said. “Our Paul Miller Racing team didn’t have an easy week. We had small mistakes here and there and those types of things add up, especially when a 12-hour race is involved. Chris [Haase], Matt [Bell, co-drivers], and the team did an awesome job, and we were able to make it to the finish. Like I said, this is a very tough race, so just making it to the finish is an accomplishment.”
After overcoming a series of setbacks earlier in the week, the team started the 12 Hours of Sebring focused on a solid finish. Starting out the day with a routine race, the team made calculated moves as they rotated through co-drivers Miller, Christopher Haase and Matt Bell. With just standard stops for fuel and tires, the team was competing at their own pace and had moved into the top six with Bell behind the wheel just before the halfway point.
“It was crazy race,” Haase said. “I did the start and already there it felt like a one-hour race. My only target was to stay out of trouble and keep the car in one piece. We had a lot safety car situations which showed how difficult the race was. Every restart was just tough because of all the different classes which where fighting. Our race was not bad, for a long time we could stay consistent at the top eight to stay in touch with the leaders.”
With the race entering its eighth hour, competitors in the 12 Hours of Sebring were challenged by the sunset hindering their vision as they navigated the narrow, bumpy course. With Miller behind the wheel, the Paul Miller Racing team was navigating traffic when a competitor in a much-faster Prototype, who was also navigating traffic, made contact with Miller in Turn 17. Miller brought the car to the attention of his crew, first on pit lane and ultimately in the garage, where the Paul Miller Racing team diagnosed a bent rear toe arm. The Audi team worked quickly and within just 12 minutes, Miller returned to the track.
“There was an incredible amount of driver error in this race which contributed to the exceptionally high number of caution flags thrown,” Bryce Miller said. “Unfortunately we were one of many that fell victim to poor judgement by others. Our incident was an example in how not to drive with one hand while trying to block the sun with the other and execute overtaking maneuvers at the highest speed on the circuit.”
Following the incident, the Paul Miller Racing drivers completed one last round of driver changes without incident and while fighting their way through the field. At the completion of the 12th hour, the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Audi R8 LMS was scored in the 12th position.
“It’s great to be able to make it to the finish here,” Bryce Miller said. “We had 11 cautions, so to be able to finish the race and score the points is a good thing. There are a lot of cars that didn’t finish and there was a high rate of attrition. We definitely have things to feel good about. Despite all the challenges, we had a really good car with good pace for the last hour of the race.
“We have a lot of takeaways from the day, but we’re focused on the entire season and getting better week after week. I think we’ll be able to learn from our experience today and be a better Audi team in Laguna Seca.”
The Tudor United SportsCar Championship GTD Class will next compete at the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix, May 3-4, 2014, at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
About Paul Miller Racing: Paul Miller Racing is among the top GT teams competing in North American sports car road racing. In 2014, the team will contest the full GT Daytona (GTD) season in the new IMSA TUDOR SportsCar Championship in a new partnership with Audi Sport customer racing. Bryce Miller and Christopher Hasse co-drive the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Audi R8 LMS. The racing team is affiliated with the Paul Miller Auto Group, which has operated Paul Miller Audi since 1976, races in support of Full Circle Home, and competes with the support of TOTAL Lubricants, Search Marketing Group and Motegi Racing.
Follow Paul Miller Racing on Twitter @paulmilleracing @bryceracer and become a Facebook fan at Facebook.com/paulmillerracing and Facebook.com/brycemiller.net.
About Audi of America and the Audi R8 LMS: Audi began a new chapter in 2009 with the introduction of the Audi Sport customer racing program. For the first time it was possible for motorsport customers to acquire a race car designed for customer racing events. Since its inception, the success of the R8 LMS has been significant throughout the GT3 racing format worldwide, including victory in the GT class in the 2013 edition of the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The Audi R8 LMS shares more than 50% of its parts with the Audi R8 street car including the naturally aspirated V10 5.2 Liter engine, the Audi Space Frame and a variety of other components.
Audi of America, Inc. and its U.S. dealers offer a full line of German-engineered luxury vehicles. AUDI AG is among the most successful luxury automotive brands globally. Audi was a top-performing luxury brand in Europe during 2012, and broke all-time company sales records in the U.S. Through 2016, AUDI AG will invest about $17 billion on new products and technologies.
Visit www.audiusa.com or www.audiusanews.com for more information regarding Audi vehicle and business issues.