BRASELTON, Georgia (October 4, 2014) – Paul Miller Racing and team drivers Bryce Miller, Christopher Haase and Matt Bell scored a strong GT Daytona (GTD) victory in Saturday’s season-ending Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in the No. 48 Castrol EDGE Audi R8 LMS.
The win was a first for the established Paul Miller Racing team and its drivers in the inaugural season of the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and came in one of the toughest events on the schedule. The timed endurance race is basically a 10-hour sprint to the finish and few teams have had to fight as hard for a Petit victory than the No. 48 Audi R8 LMS squad did on Saturday.
Paul Miller Racing’s victory capped a challenging season on a high note not only for the team and drivers but Audi as well that earned its first IMSA TUDOR Championship win in the 11th and final race of the season.
Bryce Miller and Haase also jumped two positions in the final IMSA TUDOR Championship GTD driver championship point standings to take runner-up honors for the season.
“It’s been a good year and a great team effort with a lot of support from Audi,” said Team Owner Paul Miller. “I’m really proud of the guys and the drivers and the team. Our pit stops were great, the car was beautifully prepared and it was just great overall. It’s just so nice to end the year with this kind of result, to work our way through the field in a major endurance race like this to cap off the season.”
All three team drivers led during the race and the competitive run began with starting driver Bryce Miller who quickly moved up from a 13th-place starting position. The heads-up opening stint was followed by a strong shift in the middle of the race when he led and handed the car off to Haase from second place.
“This is incredible,” Bryce Miller said. “We’ve been on the BoP (Balance of Performance) slide all year but the guys keep making things happen for us from the pit cart. Like all year, we knew we couldn’t win this race on pure pace alone, but the team called a brilliant strategy, executed outstanding pit stops, and provided a good solid setup with a focus again on tire preservation to try and improve our lapping average, which has been a tremendous challenge all season long. The drivers kept the car free of contact, didn’t make mistakes and our Audi R8 LMS again proved reliable and we picked up positions due to attrition too.”
Haase was at the wheel in the race’s final hours and three times raced back into the lead. He also defended the team’s hard-earned first-place position when the last of the race’s mass of yellow-flag periods forced a dash to the finish. The car behind him didn’t make it easy.
“The team did a good job and so did my teammates,” Haase said. “At the end we stayed out of trouble and had no mistakes. We tried to keep a fast and constant pace and the best team performance, which gave us a chance to fight for the win. The traffic was really tough and at the end the last lap was a bit crazy. In Turn 7 the car behind me crashed into me and afterwards on the back straight. The car is messed up but we can be happy we won, we can be really happy.”
Bell raced with Paul Miller Racing at both the Daytona and Sebring endurance events and came home a winner in his first race at Road Atlanta.
“It went quite well,” Bell said. “It was a big challenge, especially for me. This was my first time here and my first time back in the car since Sebring. A lot had changed and I just gradually relearned the car over the weekend. I brought the car in ninth, handed it over in fourth and gave it to my teammates who brought it home in the lead. It was an absolutely brilliant job from Bryce and Chris and just the whole Paul Miller Racing team and Audi crew. A big thank you to them for having me and a big thank you for making it possible to win.”
– Saturday’s season-ending result couldn’t have come at a better time. “This gives us a good boost headed into next season,” Paul Miller said. “Our team has really grown a lot over the course of the year. I think we’re in a great spot right now. We felt like we had the car and the team to do this all year long, we just kept missing it. We had two seconds and a third and a fourth and we led the Daytona 24 hour from the pole for 13 hours, so it’s great to get a good win at Petit. We’re very excited.”
– A key to success Saturday and all season was tuning the car to maximize its long-run performance in the absence of competitive pace. “We didn’t know if we had a win in the cards this year under the current rules configuration, but the pressure has been on this team for so long to find other ways to scrap for results,” Bryce Miller said. “It’s made us really strong in very specific areas of our play and now here we are with a win a Petit Le Mans. It’s a great feeling and a wonderful under-dog story. I’m really proud of the team for staying after it and never giving up. They’ve earned this result and I’m proud of them.”
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 Castrol EDGE, Search Marketing Group and Motegi Racing.
Follow Paul Miller Racing on Twitter @paulmilleracing @bryceracer and @ChHaase, on Facebook fan pages at Facebook.com/paulmillerracing, and at Facebook.com/brycemiller.net, and www.paulmillerracing.com, www.brycemiller.net and www.christopher-haase.de.