DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Three full-days of on-track testing in a variety of temperature and weather conditions gave Paul Miller Racing and its No. 48 Audi R8 LMS team a full book of data and development results to work with in preparation for the 52nd Annual Rolex 24 At Daytona, January 23 – 26.
Full-season co-drivers Bryce Miller and Christopher Hasse will be joined by Rene Rast and Matt Bell for the day-long Daytona classic that will be the inaugural event of the new IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. All four drivers each logged dozen of laps at Daytona the last three days.
“It’s a pleasure for me to be here,” Haase said. “We have a great car, great team, and I have great teammates. We all work well together. We improved our car step by step, but we are still getting there. We have everything we need to win the race, but now we need good luck and speed.”
Paul Miller Racing’s Rolex 24 lineup was unveiled the day before this weekend’s test but the squad quickly got in step and up to speed on the 3.56-mile Daytona road course.
“Our lineup seems to be pretty strong,” Rast said. “All of us seem to be doing about the same lap times, plus Bryce is new to the car so he probably needs some more mileage around the track, but he’s also very fast.”
While rain and unseasonably cold temperatures in the 40s opened the test, Daytona Beach was back to sunny and warm conditions by Sunday’s final day of the session.
“The test has been really good for us,” Miller said. “We have had a wide range of weather conditions to test different kinds of setups and starting pressures with the tires. We did a long run to see the trend on the car, and having the opportunity to circulate with all the categories being new gives you a really good idea for the rhythm and pace, and variations and speed between the classes.”
A highlight of the test was Saturday afternoon’s early practice that saw the team turn the fastest GTD lap of the session with a time of 1:48.535 (118.082 mph).
“I think yesterday was very positive, as we were always running up in the front,” said Bell, a debuting driver from Great Britain. “The team was P1 in one of the sessions, so it’s always nice to be at the top of the time sheets in any session. I’m continuing to get used to the car and track. The night session was interesting for me to learn where the track is lit well and where it isn’t. It’s been a good, solid test for us. There is still a little bit for us to find, but it’s always nice to be at the top. I think everyone is very positive heading into the race. We have a great lineup and a good team, and everyone is getting to know the car very well.”
Next up for Paul Miller Racing is the 52nd Rolex 24 At Daytona, January 23 – 26.