DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 28, 2011) – The star-studded Paul Miller Racing driver lineup for this weekend’s GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series event hit its stride with confidence Friday, posting the GT class field’s second fastest lap time of 1:49.453 (117.091 mph) in the final practice session for this weekend’s Rolex 24 At Daytona. SPEED will begin live coverage of the 49th running of America’s premier endurance race tomorrow at 3 p.m. ET/12 p.m. PT, with the green flag flying at 3:30 p.m. local time. A total of 14 hours of live race coverage are scheduled on SPEED through Sunday’s checkered flag at 3:30 p.m. local time.
The No. 48 Marquis Jet/TOTAL/IPC Porsche GT3 is piloted by endurance racing standouts Rob Bell, Bryce Miller, Bryan Sellers and Tim Sugden. Each of the drivers have posted competitive lap times in this weekend’s practice and qualifying sessions, and the final improvements made before this morning’s practice session allowed the drivers to focus on making the car comfortable.
“I needed to get in to do a few laps to get settled in the car,” Bell said. “That’s what we did, I did two runs and worked a little bit on not so much setup for myself but acclimatization. It was cool. We have definitely improved since when we started yesterday and I think we’ve probably got a good race car now which is good. If you’ve got a car that’s hard work, in 24 hours you’re going to make a mistake. Now I think we’ve got a car that we can work with for 24 hours.”
This weekend’s sunny skies and moderate temperatures are a welcome change for Bell, who resides in St. Helens, United Kingdom.
“I’m a Brit, we’re here in January, the sun is shining and I’m at a race circuit, so it’s fantastic. Normally we’re in the middle of snow, hail and storms back home so it’s brilliant to be here. It’s got a good atmosphere about the event, the circuit is so different from what we’re used to in Europe, certainly with the banking and high speeds on the oval. I’m enjoying every minute, it’s fantastic. I can’t wait to get started in the race and get some good stints in.”
Starting the day on form, the No. 48 team also ripped off the third fastest time in Friday morning’s final practice session at 1:50.034 (116.473 mph).
Paul Miller Racing is among the top GT-style 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 Rolex 24 At Daytona. The team enjoys a long-standing relationship with Porsche and competes with the support of three international sponsors in Marquis Jet, IPC Information Systems and TOTAL Lubricants.
Attached Photo: The No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Porsche during Friday’s practice session at Daytona International Speedway. Credit: Julio Roberto Díaz