ALTON, Virginia (August 22, 2015) – Paul Miller Racing and team co-drivers Christopher Haase and Dion von Moltke topped the time sheets Saturday in the Oak Tree Grand Prix at VIRginia International Raceway (VIR) where von Moltke won a GT Daytona (GTD) class-leading third pole of the season in the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Castrol EDGE Audi R8 LMS.
Round 8 of 10 GT Daytona (GTD) division races on the 2015 IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship schedule, the Oak Tree Grand Prix is an all-GT event for the GT Le Mans (GTLM) and GTD divisions. The race can be seen live on FOX Sports 1 tomorrow, Sunday, August 23 at 1 p.m. EDT.
The Paul Miller Racing team made some key discoveries and setup calls following Friday’s opening practice that paid off today.
Haase was quickest in the No. 48 in final practice on Saturday morning, pacing the GTD field with a top lap time of 1:47.450 (109.558 mph).
In qualifying, von Moltke posted the session’s quick time halfway through the 15-minute session and then locked it down for good with an even faster Lap 6 time of 1:49.255 (107.748 mph). The No. 48’s top time was enough to edge Patrick Lindsey’s Porsche by just .010 of a second.
“I think all of my poles this year have added up to less than a tenth of a second,” von Moltke said. “The last time we drove before qualifying, the track temperature was over 10 degrees cooler and over two seconds faster for us. We were just trying to hang on to the car, it was really greasy out there, but our Audi was a really good package thanks to the Paul Miller Racing team. It’s going to be a great battle tomorrow.”
The No. 48 and von Moltke captured the GTD-leading third TOTAL Pole Award of the season at VIR to go along with top qualifying efforts at Detroit and Lime Rock.
“It was a good day for us,” Haase said. “Practice this morning went well and then we won the pole, so we should be happy about that, but the race is another situation. We don’t want to get too excited because tomorrow is what counts, we have to focus on our race and continue our performance from today.”
A win tomorrow would be the first of 2015 for the No. 48 team and drivers who have already finished a season-best second at Laguna Seca and third at Detroit and Watkins Glen. The Oak Tree Grand Prix is the first of the year’s final three races.
“We have a few races to go, and we want to win really badly,” von Moltke said. “We go into each race weekend focusing on winning the event. The team will make a choice to fight for the win or go for championship points, but right now we’re really just focused on what we have to do for the win tomorrow.”
A victory tomorrow would almost certainly put the No. 48 team and drivers back on top of the IMSA TUDOR Championship GTD team and driver point standings. They are currently second with 197 points in both championships, just two points out of first place.
Race-day Sunday begins with a 20-minute warm-up at 8:35 a.m. The Oak Tree Grand Prix is scheduled to start at 1:05 p.m. EDT.
– The Oak Tree Grand Prix is the season’s lone GT-only race for the GTD and more powerful GTLM class. “I think a mix of all GT car races, and some with prototypes, is best,” von Moltke said. “I am personally a fan of GT racing, and think it is the best, but some fans will disagree with me. Sports car racing is all about variety, catching the imagination of all fans and we must continue to do that.”
– Von Moltke doesn’t just like coming to VIR for the exciting 3.27-mile, 17-Turn layout. “They have one of the best management teams of U.S. tracks,” von Moltke said. “They really listen to driver input and do their best to put on an amazing event. It is also fantastic for spectators. If you have an opportunity to come out and watch an IMSA TUDOR Championship race here then you need to go for it. You will not be disappointed by VIR!”
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.
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