Tuesday, September 23, 2014

TUSC: Paul Miller Racing Lone Star Le Mans at Circuit of The Americas Race Report

Paul Miller Racing Press Release

Continuing their consistent and competitive form they have demonstrated all season, Paul Miller Racing drivers Bryce Miller and Christopher Haase drove the No. 48 Castrol EDGE Audi R8 LMS to a solid sixth-place finish in the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Lone Star Le Mans at Circuit of The Americas (COTA) on Saturday.

The finish was the top result for an Audi R8 LMS in the GT Daytona (GTD) division but the team grappled with an overall lack of pace compared to the competition throughout the weekend. The hard-earned result also kept the team and drivers in contention for a top-three finish in the season-long IMSA TUDOR Championship with only next month’s Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta remaining on the 2014 schedule.

“It’s really difficult,” Bryce Miller said. “The Balance of Performance (BoP) hasn’t been competitive for us since Daytona and it seems to be getting worse and worse. I think it showed in the lap times. However, I’m still really proud of the guys. We beat a lot of competitors who were faster than us, and that’s due to the impressive teamwork. We were able to leap frog some cars in the pits, and Chris did an awesome job.”

Starting from the seventh row, Bryce Miller took on race-opening duties and promptly moved into the top 10. A spin later in his stint dropped him down in the running order but he quickly recovered and stayed on the lead lap.

A timely yellow came out just before the one-hour mark and the team called the No. 48 to the pits with the rest of the GTD lead pack. Haase took over and gained as many positions as he could in the race’s final one hour and 45 minutes.

“I had a spin in the start that was really costly and Chris just did an awesome job to drive us back up and get us some great championship points,” Bryce Miller said.

Haase steadily improved throughout his double driving stint to the finish on the 3.4-mile Formula 1 circuit. He broke into the top 10 early in his shift and, after passing a few more competitors, found himself in seventh after a stellar final pit stop by the Paul Miller Racing crew. He slipped by one more competitor before the checkered flag for the sixth-place result.

“I think we should be proud of what we did today,” Haase said. “I know it was not possible for us to get more out of the car. We have a difficult Balance of Performance but the race showed that we do have race pace and the ability to be consistently quick. The pit stop was great and there were no mistakes from the team. I’m ready for Petit but we can only hope the BoP will favor us for the end of the season.”

Photo credit: Paul Miller Racing / Bob Chapman