(October 2, 2010) — The Paul Miller Racing owner, drivers and crew made the difficult decision to withdraw from the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta on Saturday, opting for safety over potentially dangerous, slow laps. The Georgia-based crew has worked tirelessly for the past five weeks, rebuilding the No. 48 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car after it was knocked into a guardrail at the last American Le Mans Series race, at Mosport International Raceway, on Aug. 29.
Despite their best efforts, a mystery issue remained, causing the car to snap sideways at speed, a situation that threatened the safety of the team’s drivers Pierre Ehret (Tegernsee, Germany), Luke Hines (Essex, England) and Bryce Miller (Summit, N.J., USA). The crew worked until 4 am Saturday to identify and fix the problem, but the morning warmup showed the car was still unstable.
After leading the GTC class in five races this season, and recording a record pole position and record race lap, withdrawing from the 1000-mile / 10-hour Petit Le Mans was a tough decision for team owner Paul Miller.
“I feel so badly for the guys who worked so hard to rebuild the car and get us ready. We’ve had the pace all year and it’s obvious that we have a great team coming together, so we were hoping to end the season on an up-note,” he said. “I really appreciate Luke’s father, Martin Hines, supporting this decision. The boys would love to race anyway; they’d go out there and trundle around without recognizing the potential danger. So we’ve had to override them as dads and that’s the tough part.”
Luke Hines: “We’ve been struck with more bad luck. This chassis has had a severe twist or something on the car. The problem is in the very fast corners, the last corner, even down the straight where we’ve got a little right kink, the car just wants to go sideways. Since the warmup this morning, there’s a bit of grip, but every right-hander the car just wants to spin every time you hit the brakes. It just wants to go straight into the wall. The team has worked so hard – they were here until four o’clock this morning – and we’re just gutted. We’re here for the safety of everything, the drivers and the car and the crew. Bryce and I and the whole team decided that this is not going to work out for the car to be out on the track. This bad luck has happened to us all year, so maybe next year we can turn a new leaf.”
Bryce Miller: “This is a really tough pill to swallow. The team has put their heart and soul into building this car in time to make this event, so it’s very difficult to not be able to start the race. But at the same time, I think it’s the right decision and the mature decision. We’ve accomplished a lot of things this season and made tremendous steps in terms of our performance as a team, and I think that showed at Mosport. I wish we could carry that on here, but we weren’t in control of the events that happened. Unfortunately, we’re still chasing those issues that happened five weeks ago; they’re still haunting us. But I’m very proud of the team, their level of effort and how far we’ve come over the season. I think we have a lot of promise and potential moving forward.”
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