Paul Miller Racing Press Release
Paul Miller Racing Team and Drivers Bryce Miller, Christopher Haase and Matt Bell Have Productive Two Days at Sebring Winter Test
No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Audi R8 LMS Team to Build on Rolex 24 Pole-Winning and Race-Leading Run in Next Month's 12 Hours of Sebring
SEBRING, Fla. (February 22, 2014) - Paul Miller Racing and No. 48 Audi R8 LMS drivers Bryce Miller, Christopher Haase and Matt Bell successfully worked through a full agenda of scheduled testing and development Thursday and Friday in the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Racing annual Sebring Winter Test at Sebring International Raceway.
Paul Miller Racing returned to Sebring on the heels of a breakout performance in the team's debut race with Audi Sport customer racing in January at the Rolex 24 At Daytona. In that race, new team driver Haase won the pole and, with Rene Rast also part of the 24-hour lineup, the No. 48 quickly emerged as the GT Daytona (GTD) class pacesetter in the first half of the race. An overheating issue that emerged twice in the early Sunday morning hours ultimately knocked the No. 48 from winning contention but the Paul Miller Racing team served notice they will among those to beat in 2014.
At the Sebring test, typically thorough and meticulous preparation by the Paul Miller Racing crew maximized the No. 48's on-track time and - without a single mechanical glitch - allowed the team and drivers to run through a wide and thorough range of setup changes on the Audi R8 LMS. This also gave new team drivers Haase and Bell each the chance to log a substantial amount of laps in their first visit to Sebring International Raceway.
The strong endurance race showing at Daytona, and a comparably productive and competitive test this week at Sebring, both have Bryce Miller very optimistic about the team's chances in the perhaps even more grueling 12-hour race.
"The team has good momentum from Daytona and Christopher and Matt and I are all understanding one another better and working better together as we get to know each other," Bryce Miller said. "It is all moving in the right direction and I think we learned a lot these last two days. It was good to have a drop in track temperature on Friday just to feel a different track condition and to try some different changes. We had some different driver feedback across the changes but overall I think the result showed."
While Miller, son of team owner Paul Miller, is a Sebring veteran, both Haase and Bell were indeed making their career debuts on the legendary and notoriously tough Sebring road course. Haase has conquered the 24 Hours of Nurburgring sports car race in his native Germany - another legendary track known for its unique and unforgiving attributes - but Sebring was still an eye opener for the Audi driver.
"For me, it was the first time at Sebring here and on my first track walk I was a little bit scared," Haase said. "I have never seen a track like this in my life, it is really bumpy, quite difficult and you just have to get used to it as a driver. The first session I just used it to get myself into the track, to feel the car, get the traffic and after that you just have to build up yourself as a driver. So far we have done everything very well, we improved the car step-by-step in the right direction and I am very optimistic for the race."
Bell, a Brit who is no relation to American sports car driver Matt Bell but the younger brother of fellow sports car racing standout Rob Bell, also quickly realized Sebring is a track like no other.
"This compares to nothing at all," Bell said. "Sebring is pretty unique to me. There may be somewhere else in the world like it but I have never been to it. I actually liked it instantly as soon as I got out on track, I have really enjoyed these two test days. Thursday was all about building confidence in the track and getting to learn the little nuances of the place but by the end of the test we made some good steps forward."
As the most experienced driver on the team - he ran in the lead pack throughout his race-opening stint last year at Sebring when the team finished sixth - Bryce Miller was there for his new teammates when they took their first laps on the Sebring circuit.
"I made sure to be wearing the team radio headset for Chris and Matt when they had their first outings," Bryce Miller said. "The initial comments you get from first timers is just hilarious. All the bumps, and the chattering and the jumping, it is completely foreign when you first come here. They ended up getting really good lap times here and good experience we can bring back for race week because Sebring is all about experience."
Next up for Paul Miller Racing and the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship is the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, March 12 - 15.
About Paul Miller Racing:
Paul Miller Racing is among the top GT teams competing in North American sports car road racing. In 2014, the team will contest the full GT Daytona (GTD) season in the new IMSA TUDOR SportsCar Championship in a new partnership with Audi Sport customer racing. Bryce Miller and Christopher Hasse will co-drive the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Audi R8 LMS. The racing team is affiliated with the Paul Miller Auto Group, which has operated Paul Miller Audi since 1976, races in support of Full Circle Home, and competes with the support of TOTAL Lubricants, Search Marketing Group and Motegi Racing.
Follow Paul Miller Racing on Twitter @paulmilleracing @bryceracer and become a Facebook fan at Facebook.com/paulmillerracing and Facebook.com/brycemiller.net. Learn more about the team at www.paulmillerracing.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.
Photo credit: Paul Miller Racing
Photo credit: Paul Miller Racing