Things were looking good for co-drivers Bryce Miller and Sascha Maassen and the No. 48 Dunlop/Chopard/TOTAL Porsche 911 GT3 RSR team from Paul Miller Racing within the first 10 minutes of Saturday’s inaugural American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón race at Virginia International Raceway.

After starting ninth in the GT class, Bryce Miller took advantage of a Lap 1/Turn 1 dustup among a handful of prototypes ahead of him to move up to sixth place at the end of the opening lap. Shortly thereafter, Miller made a brief appearance inside the GT-class top five.

Unfortunately, the first 10 minutes proved to be the highlight of the 240-minute VIR 240 for the No. 48 Porsche team. The car fell off the lead lap just past the half hour mark in the race when Miller made an unscheduled pit stop with a cut left rear tire.

Maassen took over in the second hour to drive the middle portion of the race, but the team’s fortunes would not improve with the German in the cockpit. He battled a number of handling issues that brought him in for lengthy pit stops, dropping the No. 48 several laps down to the class leaders.

Miller returned to the No. 48 with just over an hour remaining and the team was pleased with his pace. In fact, he turned the team’s fastest race laps with consistency over his final stint, and Miller and Maassen wound up 10th in the final race rundown.

“We had an eventful day and are taking back a series of lessons with us,” said Bryce. “I have no doubt we can apply and execute these lessons going forward, which will make us a better team.”

Next up for Miller, Maassen and the No. 48 Dunlop/Chopard/TOTAL Porsche team is the 2012 ALMS season finale, the 15thAnnual Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. The 10-hour or 1,000-lap race is scheduled for Saturday, October 20.

PHOTO:  The No. 48 Dunlop/Chopard/TOTAL Porsche in action at the VIR 240. Credit:  Bob Chapman/Autosport Image