LAKEVILLE, Connecticut (July 24, 2015) – Paul Miller Racing, and drivers Christopher Haase and Dion von Moltke, gave the No. 48 Castrol EDGE Audi R8 LMS an impressive debut at Lime Rock Park on Friday with a pole-winning performance in the GT Daytona (GTD) class for tomorrow’s Northeastern Grand Prix.
Von Moltke prevailed in an exciting 15-minute qualifying battle that saw him and the team capture a class-leading second pole of the season. In late May, von Moltke and Paul Miller Racing won the pole at the Detroit Grand Prix and went on to finish third in the race, co-driving with teammate Haase.
“It was an interesting qualifying session today,” von Moltke said. “We didn’t really know what to expect, so we went into qualifying just giving it everything we had. Luckily, it was just enough, I think .009 of a second was the gap back to second. A little closer than I’d like but a big testament to the team, our engineers here at Paul Miller Racing and our Audi R8 LMS.”
Von Moltke turned the pole-winning time of 54.004 (98.259 mph) on his ninth lap of the session, just edging the second fastest competitor that clocked in with a 54.013 (98.243 mph) lap.
The two-hour and 40-minute Northeast Grand Prix goes green tomorrow, July 25, at 3:15 p.m. EDT. IMSA.com and the IMSA app will stream in-car cameras, live timing and scoring and broadcast IMSA Radio’s play-by-play throughout the race. The full race will air in next-day coverage on FOX Sports 1, Sunday, July 26, from 5 – 7:30 p.m. EDT.
Paul Miller Racing comes to Lime Rock, the sixth of 10 races on the 2015 GT Daytona (GTD) schedule, with podium finishes in the last three IMSA TUDOR Championship GTD rounds at Watkins Glen (3rd), Detroit (3rd) and Laguna Seca (2nd).
The No. 48 Audi team also has an unmatched run of six-straight top-five finishes, dating back to a victory in 2014’s season-ending Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.
“The year has been very good until now but only half of the season is done,” Haase said. “Now we going into the second half, which is most important one.”
In addition to the team’s debut with No. 48 Audi, Haase will be making his first start at Lime Rock. A factory Audi Sport customer racing driver from Germany, Haase is in his second season with Paul Miller Racing.
“Lime Rock is a really great track,” Haase said. “It reminds me of a little Nurburgring. Our Audi is working quite well here and, with good set-ups in practice, we improved our car for a good qualifying and to find a good balance for the race. Dion did a nice job on pole but we honestly shouldn’t celebrate too much, we still have a long race to go, we should put our focus there, but it is nice to start from the pole and to be in front.”
This year’s Northeast Grand Prix is a feature event for just the GTD and Prototype Challenge (PC) classes, but that is plenty of cars for Lime Rock. At just 1.5-miles in length with only seven turns, Lime Rock is the shortest track on the IMSA TUDOR Championship schedule, but it never fails to deliver big thrills.
“Lime Rock is an extremely difficult track to race on due to the short track length and the limited passing opportunities,” von Moltke said. “The ability to have the car work well when closely following other cars is vital. To be alone for even two corners at Lime Rock is a rarity, there is always traffic and you are always battling someone.”
Von Moltke has always enjoyed racing at Lime Rock. Tomorrow marks his first race start with Paul Miller Racing at the track, but he co-drove an earlier version of the Audi R8 to a second-place finish at Lime Rock in the 2012 GRAND-AM Rolex Series race.
“It’s funny, I know Lime Rock is not that high on the list of favorite tracks for a lot of drivers, but I really enjoy racing there,” von Moltke said. “After they repaved it recently it is a very fun track to drive, and the battles are usually the most intense ones we have all season. Some race tracks are fun to drive on, but not the greatest to actually race on. Lime Rock however is a track that maybe isn’t the greatest to just go do some laps, but it is so much fun to race on.”
– Von Moltke is among a majority of drivers that miss Lime Rock’s original uphill section. “It is a little unfortunate we don’t use the original uphill anymore,” von Moltke said. “I know this is a safety concern, but I can tell you that jump was exciting from behind the wheel!”
– Paul Miller Audi, part of the Paul Miller Auto Group, is based in Parsippany, N.J., which is less than a two-hour drive from Lime Rock Park. A strong contingent of Paul Miller Racing supporters will make the short journey from New Jersey to Lime Rock for tomorrow’s Northeastern Grand Prix, but the team’s major promotional support for the race was held this past Saturday with the ‘Stars and Cars’ event at Paul Miller Audi, which has been in business since 1976. “Wow, what an event,” Haase said. “It is great to see so many people interested in our racing, and I like it too to share our motorsports program with them along with all of the guys on the team. When the fans saw our Audi R8 LMS, you could see the smiles on their faces. Then, when we did a pit stop challenge and started the engine of our beast, it was great to look again into the faces. Some people were crying, which is great! And oh yes, some great barbecue too!”
– Von Moltke was also impressed by amazing support seen at ‘Stars and Cars.’ “This was my first time at our Stars and Cars event at the Paul Miller Audi dealership and man was it fun,” von Moltke said. “The crowd was just awesome, it was great to meet all the people that support our race team from behind the scenes. It is always cool to see everyone’s eyes widen when they see the Audi R8 for the first time, and I have never seen so many kids with wide eyes as there were at this event. The Audi dealership is just amazing, and it is always a great time to hang out with car people and get to talk racing, Paul Miller and Audi. It really gets you excited for our next race and gives you a little more push to bring an extra intensity to the second half of the season!”
– Paul Miller Racing, and Haase and von Moltke, head into tomorrow’s race as the IMSA TUDOR Championship GTD leaders. Both the No 48 and its drivers have 149 points in both the team and driver championships, 10 points ahead of the second-place competitors.
Follow Paul Miller Racing on Twitter @paulmilleracing @bryceracer, @ChHaase and @Dionvmracing and on Facebook fan pages available at Facebook.com/paulmillerracing, Facebook.com/brycemiller.net, www.facebook.com/Dionvm, and www.paulmillerracing.com, www.brycemiller.net, www.christopher-haase.de and www.dionvm.com.
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.