PARSIPPANY, N.J. – Riding the momentum of a top-five performance in the 2012 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón season opener at Sebring, No. 48 Dunlop/Chopard/TOTAL Porsche 911 GT3 RSR co-drivers Bryce Miller and Sascha Maassen head for one of their favorite events, the Tequila Patrón American Le Mans Series at Long Beach on Saturday afternoon.
Miller and Maassen teamed with Rob Bell to finish fifth among ALMS competitors in the GT class at Sebring, which was the Paul Miller Racing team’s first event with its brand-new Porsche and new Dunlop tires.
Now it’s on to the Long Beach street circuit. Last year, street circuits were a strong point for Paul Miller Racing, as Maassen and Miller earned their best result of the season with a fourth-place performance on the streets of Baltimore.
At Long Beach in 2011, the team had a solid performance that saw Maassen lead the race during the pit-stop sequence. A top-10 result was within reach until Miller was punted off course by another car within 20 minutes of the checkered flag. As a result, he and Maassen were scored 12th in the final GT race standings.
“I am looking forward to Long Beach,” said Miller, who finished fifth in GTC at Long Beach in 2010. “Sascha is very fast on this circuit and I quite enjoy it. Our car and tire package is all new this year so at this stage in the season we have to be opportunist but not too aggressive. This philosophy applies well on a street circuit – with walls all around everywhere your race can end very quickly. It is an important race in the championship points battle and after the way in which our race ended last year my personal focus will be to avoid playing bumper cars.”
Maassen brings a strong record with him to his fourth career start at Long Beach. He finished second overall and in the LMP2 class in 2007 and was third in LMP2 in 2008 prior to last year’s race.
“We were the best-placed Porsche in Sebring and for sure we want to keep the momentum from there and bring it to this race,” Maassen said. “The Paul Miller Racing team has been very well prepared for street circuits last year and we know that we have to approach this race differently. We are very optimistic that with our new Porsche and our new Dunlop tires, we will have a good chance to have a good result here.
“Sebring is a special event and Long Beach is a special event. For us, everything was new at Sebring. We learned a lot during the week there and we made some adjustments for this race here. I am curious to see how we are in comparison to the other cars on the street circuit.”
Maassen and the rest of the team will begin to find out during the lone practice session of the weekend on Friday morning from 7:15 to 9:15 a.m. PT. Friday’s schedule also includes qualifying, which for the GT class runs from 5:20 to 5:35 p.m. PT.
Saturday’s race day activities include an autograph session at the team transporter in the ALMS paddock from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. PT followed by the Tequila Patrón American Le Mans Series at Long Beach, which takes the green flag at 4:30 p.m. PT. The race will be two hours in length.
The race will be televised live on Saturday, April 14 beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET and will also be available on ESPN3.com beginning at 7:15 p.m. ET. Qualifying will also be broadcast on ESPN3.com at 8:00 p.m. ET. Live timing & scoring data from every on-track session is available at AmericanLeMans.com.
PHOTO: The No. 48 Dunlop/Chopard/TOTAL Porsche in action at Sebring. Credit: Bob Chapman/Autosport Image.
Paul Miller Racing
Tequila Patrón American Le Mans Series at Long Beach
2011 – Finished 12th in GT class
2010 – Finished fifth in GTC class
Total Long Beach Starts: 2
Best Sebring Result: Fifth (2010)
2011 – Finished 12th in GT class
2008 – Finished third in LMP2 class
2007 – Finished second in LMP2 class and overall
Total Long Beach Starts: 3