DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (January 11, 2015) – Paul Miller Racing officially kicked off its 2015 IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship campaign this weekend at the Roar Before the Rolex 24 At Daytona where team drivers Christopher Haase, Dion von Moltke, Bryce Miller and René Rast put the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Audi R8 LMS through its first laps of the season.
The three-day event marked the debut of new team driver von Moltke who will contest the full IMSA TUDOR Championship GTD (GT Daytona) season co-driving with returning Audi Sport customer racing driver Haase. Von Moltke is replacing former fulltime driver Bryce Miller who remains with the team in 2015 to co-drive in endurance races. Rast is racing in the Rolex 24 with Paul Miller Racing for the second year in a row in the No. 48 Audi R8 LMS. Rast co-drove to a GT class victory in the 2012 Rolex 24.
“I’m really loving life here at Paul Miller Racing,” von Moltke said. “It was a really strong first test for us. I feel right at home with the team. They have done a great job welcoming me in and making me feel like I’m really a member of the team. I don’t feel like it’s my first weekend with them.”
Rain on Sunday’s third and final day of the Roar saw Paul Miller Racing call an early end to the weekend but a great deal of scheduled component and set-up testing was still accomplished.
“Everything got done fairly early actually,” Paul Miller Racing Team Manager Mitchell Simmons said. “The car pretty much did everything we expected it to do, the simulation was spot on, and we ran some good laps. We made a little bit of a wrong turn just testing some things out about mid-day yesterday but for the most part we are very happy.”
Although von Moltke is new to Paul Miller Racing, he is one the most experienced Audi R8 LMS drivers in North America. He was part of the four-driver Audi team that won the GT class in the 2013 Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Haase is back for a second-consecutive year with Paul Miller Racing as the team’s lead driver, Bryce Miller will fill a critical role as the primary endurance race addition and Rast, an Audi Sport prototype driver, is always a welcome addition.
“It was a great test days and we worked on a good car set-up for the race,” Haase said. “You always need some luck too but I am optimistic we have a good car for the Daytona race. A great job from the team and all drivers during the Roar, very focused, and we worked hard on everything in a team effort for perfection. We did lots of driver change practice, which was very helpful, we are good but still have to improve some small details in the cockpit to be a bit quicker.”
A second season with Audi Sport customer racing and a team that is returning with 100% of the same pit crew and engineering staff is a plus for Paul Miller Racing heading into the Rolex 24 and 2015 season in total.
“There is a familiarity now that we have in our relationships,” Bryce Miller said. “The comfort level is good, with Christopher being back, with some of the Audi support personnel that are here, we get to build on relationships that we were just starting out on a year ago. That’s confidence inspiring, and gives the whole team a different perspective or outlook going into this race. We are building on a foundation of a full year of relationships, processes and procedures that will go a long way in helping us try to learn and progress in areas that maybe we didn’t cover last year.”
Both the team and drivers found the latest version of the Audi R8 LMS they tested for the first time in 2015 specifications as good as or better than last year’s car.
“There’s additional downforce on the car but it still seems that we are down a little bit on top speed compared to some of the other cars,” Simmons said. “But overall the platform is easy for the guys to drive so I think we will be right there at the end of the Rolex 24. As it sits right now, I think the car definitely has a podium in it.”
Paul Miller Racing’s competition relationship with Audi Sport customer racing complements a longtime retail partnership the Paul Miller Auto Group has enjoyed with the manufacturer. The dealership group has included since 1976 Paul Miller Audi, one of the largest Audi dealerships in the nation, which made the team’s on-track switch to Audi a logical decision.
Next up for Paul Miller Racing is the 53rd annual Rolex 24 At Daytona at Daytona International Speedway, January 22 – 25.
About Paul Miller Racing
Paul Miller Racing was the top Audi Sport customer racing team in the inaugural season of the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship in 2014 in which Bryce Miller and Christopher Haase co-drove 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 Castrol EDGE, Search Marketing Group and Motegi Racing.