No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Porsche will start 10th on ALMS GT Grid at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
MONTEREY, Calif. (Sept. 16, 2011) – Sascha Maassen qualified 10th on the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón GT grid, in preparation for Saturday’s Round 8 race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Maassen and co-driver Bryce Miller will share the driving duties in the No. 48 Chopard/Yokohama/IPC/Total Porsche 911 GT3 RSR.
Maassen turned his fastest qualifying lap of 1:24.133 (95.763 mph) on his seventh circuit around the 11-turn, 2.238-mile road course. The team is optimistic about how the No. 48 Porsche and the Yokohama tires will perform throughout Saturdays’ six-hour race.
“I like Laguna Seca a lot,” Maassen said after qualifying. “Today, I had a good car. I have to say, we made constant improvement. We know the toughest part for us is qualifying. I think we are all happy with what we’ve achieved now. I am really optimistic about the race.
“Each driver will be in the car for three hours. At Laguna Seca, where you have no straights and no time to rest, it is going to be really hard work [on the driver]. We know that our tires are very consistent. I have no doubts about our car and tire performance [during the six-hour race].”
Today, the team had two practice sessions before this afternoon’s qualifying. During each session, the team continued to work with the new Yokohama tires and saw steady improvement, which helped the team’s qualifying effort.
“We have the luck and the fortune to be able to be a part of a tire development program,” Maassen said. “With this tight schedule, sometimes it’s difficult to setup the car and do the tire development. We are trying to do both at the same time, which sometimes is not easy. But, the result in the end is what counts. We are happy with what we’ve achieved so far.”
“This will be a long race,” team owner Paul Miller said. “What we know from all of the stints that we’ve done over the course of the year is that these tires are really good on a long stint. The performance doesn’t decline or depreciate the way it does on some of the other tires deep into a stint. That’s why we have very high hopes for the longer races on the Yokohama.
“Over the past two months, Yokohama has done a great job helping us improve our car’s performance. Our team is doing a great job and the Yokohama tires have taken us to the next level.
“We are really excited today because our pace is really close to some of the people we are competing against. We’re the closest we’ve ever been to the Falken car. We’re the closest we’ve ever been to the Flying Lizard car. That is what we really measure against. This is a big day for us, even though we are P10. We’re really making strides in our performance. So, we’re really excited about our qualifying performance today.”