A total team effort by the Paul Miller Racing crew over the last three weeks has a repaired and completely prepared No. 48 Chopard/TOTAL Porsche 911 GT3 RSR ready for drivers Bryce Miller and Marco Holzer at this weekend’s inaugural American Le Mans Series (ALMS) presented by Tequila Patrón race, September 19 – 21, at Circuit of The Americas (COTA).
The ALMS race is part of a doubleheader event at COTA that also features the international FIA World Endurance Championship in what is being billed as the International Sports Car Weekend. The featured ALMS race goes green at 3:45 p.m. CDT this Saturday, September 21..
The No. 48 Chopard/TOTAL Porsche was among the eliminated entries in a massive race-start pile up one race ago at the Baltimore Grand Prix. The Porsche was hit at least five times, including in the rear end and driver-side door, and sustained front-end damage after being knocked into the cars ahead. Bryce Miller emerged unscathed in the incident but the multi-car crash just seconds after the green flag flew required a week-long effort to repair the team’s Porsche.
“The crew left the track at 3:00 a.m. after the race and drove back to Atlanta,” said Paul Miller Racing Team Manager Mitchell Simmons. “On Labor Day we had the car disassembled to the frame rails and had the car to the frame shop the next day. We got the car back later that day and spent the remaining part of the day and the next day welding the cracks in the body and adding support to the bent areas of the frame rails.”
Bryce Miller and Holzer drove the repaired Porsche for the first time since Baltimore on Sunday in a private test at COTA. On-track action continued in Texas yesterday with a Tuesday afternoon group test and the No. 48 Chopard/TOTAL Porsche was the fastest in the GT class.
“I am just so proud of these guys,” Bryce Miller said. “They have given up so much personally to put in the time to get us to this point. I am very thankful, it is just an awesome opportunity to roll out here and continue our points hunt, and what better way to memorialize their hard work by putting it P1 today. Just a great morale boost and rebound for the team.”
Having the majority of the needed replacement parts already in stock at the team race shop in Atlanta was some key pre-season planning and preparation that paid off for the Paul Miller Racing crew.
“We had spares of every part except a bumper bracket and a bracket for the exhaust, so reassembly took very little time,” Simmons said. “By Friday after the race, the car was reassembled and we were back on schedule as if there was no accident at all. The crew worked so hard during the week we actually got to have the weekend off!”
The quick repair job allowed the team to stay on schedule not only for COTA but in the long-lead preparation for next month’s season-ending Petit Le Mans. The team’s pre-race preparation for the next-to-last race at Virginia International Raceway in early October was completed before Baltimore.
“We double checked everything and set the car up early the following week and started building sub-assemblies for Petit,” Simmons said. “By the time the car was loaded for COTA we had fixed the damage from Baltimore and built and prepared everything for Petit. Our crew is truly second to none.”
Despite the Baltimore disappointment, the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Chopard/TOTAL Porsche remains the top-ranked single-car and privateer team in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) GT Team Championship. The factory and two-car Corvette, BMW and Viper teams make up the top three, but the Paul Miller Racing Porsche team is fourth with 42 points, 10 markers ahead of the nearest challenger.
Although officially only a two-day Friday and Saturday event, ALMS teams will benefit from a pair of promoter test sessions on the 3.4-mile track earlier in the week. Yesterday’s four-hour test will be followed by a second session scheduled for Thursday afternoon. A pair of practice sessions kick off the official schedule on Friday before GT qualifying that afternoon at 2:10 p.m. CDT, which also can be viewed live online on ESPN3. Race-day Saturday starts with a warm-up session at 8 a.m. CDT before that afternoon’s race at 3:45 p.m. CDT.
- Before the Paul Miller Racing crew began the multi-day repair job after the Baltimore accident, Simmons made sure the team members had some brief relief of their own. “We arrived at the shop about 2 p.m. on Sunday after the race and everyone was told to go home, wash their clothes, and kiss the wife and kids because it was going to be a long week.”
Paul Miller Racing: Paul Miller Racing is among the top GT teams competing in North American sports car road racing. In 2013, the team will contest the full American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón with lead driver Bryce Miller and season-long teammate Marco Holzer. The team enjoys a long-standing relationship with Porsche and competes with the support of Chopard, TOTAL Lubricants, Search Marketing Group and Motegi Racing, and races exclusively on Michelin tires. The team is affiliated with Paul Miller Porsche, a 2013 Porsche Premier Dealer Award recipient.
Source. Paul Miller Racing