AUSTIN, Texas (September 17, 2015) – Paul Miller Racing, and team drivers Christopher Haase and Dion von Moltke, will be racing to return to the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship podium this weekend in the No. 48 Castrol EDGE Audi R8 LMS at Circuit of the Americas.
Saturday’s Lone Star Le Mans race kicks off a critical two-race run to decide the 2015 IMSA TUDOR Championships. Round nine of this year’s 10-race GT Daytona (GTD) season, the two-hour and 40-minute race can be seen live on FOX Sports 2 this Saturday, September 19, at 12:30 p.m. EDT. The race will be reair on FOX Sports 1 this Sunday, September 20, at 1:30 p.m. EDT.
Haase made his first start at Circuit of The Americas (COTA) last year in his debut season with Paul Miller Racing.
“It is a new track, it has great safety stuff,” said Haase, a native of Germany. “The layout is more like a European race track. It’s a fun track to drive, and the guy who developed the track did a great job. It is a pleasant change during the year.”
Von Moltke is familiar with COTA but is prepping for his first start at the track in the No. 48 Castrol EDGE Audi R8 LMS.
“It is great to be going back to Circuit of The Americas,” von Moltke said. “It’s a fantastic facility and has great fans. The local Audi Club chapter in Texas always provides us great support and this really helps us push as hard as ever.”
The main push at COTA will be for Paul Miller Racing to recapture the podium form and good fortune it had in the first half of the season.
After fifth-place finishes in the year’s opening races at Daytona and Sebring, the No. 48 team and drivers posted three-straight podium finishes in the following trio of races. Third-place showings at Detroit and Watkins Glen were preceded by a season-high second-place finish at Laguna Seca.
The second half of the year has been more challenging but the team returned to the top five one race ago at Virginia International Raceway (VIR). Both drivers led the race and von Moltke drove the No. 48 to the team’s class-leading third pole of the season.
“We have been a bit unlucky in the second part of season but we are still in a good shape,” Haase said. “You never know what will happen but I am looking forward to the last two races.”
The No. 48 Paul Miller Racing team, and Haase and von Moltke, come to COTA with 224 points in both the GTD team and driver championship standings. They trail the second place team and drivers by just two points and are eight points out of the lead in both championships.
A good showing at COTA would provide a good dose of momentum and points to take to next month’s season-ending Petit Le Mans, a race Paul Miller Racing won last year.
“Honestly, right now we are just focusing on doing our jobs,” von Moltke said. “On the team, everyone has a very clear idea of what their job is, and we all have a lot of confidence in one another to execute at a high level. As long as we keep this up and keep a clear mind we are in good shape. No doubt there is pressure, but there is always pressure to perform. The belief we have in one another helps us deal with that pressure.”
Austin’s summer-like September heat will also create some challenges for the No. 48 team and drivers.
“The heat that Austin brings this time of year can be not only brutal on drivers but it also really affects how much grip the track can have,” von Moltke said. “No doubt, we are expecting warm conditions this year again and this can make the track really greasy. With the race starting in the late morning and going on into the afternoon, the track conditions will change quite a lot. We will have to work hard to get a setup that works well throughout the entire race.”
The three-day IMSA TUDOR Championship schedule gets underway today, Thursday, September 17, at COTA with morning and afternoon practice sessions. Friday features a third and final one-hour practice session at 9:10 a.m. CDT with GTD qualifying that afternoon at 3:45 p.m. Race-day Saturday starts with a 20-minute warm-up at 8 a.m. CDT before the 11:35 a.m. start of the two-hour and 40-minute race.
– A win might this weekend might help von Moltke warm up to the COTA track. “While the facility is fantastic at COTA the actual circuit is not my favorite,” von Moltke said. “For me, it’s only two corners that if changed would make it a great track. Turns 13 and 15 are tight left and right handers that don’t have much flow to them. If it wasn’t for those corners I would really enjoy driving on this track more!”
– Haase feels at home on both a modern Formula 1 track like COTA and more traditional circuits like Watkins Glen, Road Atlanta and the Nurburgring back home in Germany. “A traditional track is always very special but also a new track like COTA gives you a great change during a race season,” Haase said. “I like both kinds of tracks.”
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.