Circuit de la Sarthe
24 Hours of Le Mans Ends Prematurely for Bryce Miller
Suspension and Tire Issues Force Co-Driver Al Faisal into Barrier
SUMMIT, N.J. (June 13, 2011) – Bryce Miller’s first 24-hour race of 2011 ended on the podium with a second-place run in January’s Rolex 24 At Daytona, but there would be no repeat celebration after his second twice-around-the-clock event of the year ended short of the checkered flag in the 24 Hours of Le Mans last weekend.
For his second attempt at Le Mans, Miller co-drove the No. 88 Team Felbermayr-Proton Porsche 911 GT3 RSR with British racer Nick Tandy and Saudi Arabian Abdulaziz Al Faisal in the LM GTE Pro class. Miller’s week at the Circuit de la Sarthe got off to a rough start in free practice on Wednesday when the No. 88 Porsche had an oil fire, which forced Miller to spin on the famed Mulsanne straight, but the team repaired the car and Tandy qualified the car 14th in class.
The team’s fortunes improved substantially in the early portion of the race, when Tandy worked his way up to third in class by the one-hour mark and stayed there through the end of Hour 2. In fact, the team was in contention for a top-10 result through six hours, but the No. 88 Porsche fell several laps behind the class leaders by the end of the seventh hour.
The situation worsened throughout the second and third quarters of the race before Al Faisal crashed approaching the Indianapolis turn prior before the end of the 18th hour, removing the No. 88 from the race.
"We had ongoing issues with the suspension that may have been contributing to our tire failures and blowouts and seemed to be worsening as we continued,” Miller said. “The team made a real effort to keep us going on track but we were eventually caught out by a tire blowout that ended our race in the barriers. I am glad Aziz was okay."
Next up for Miller is his third consecutive European endurance race with Team Felbermayr-Proton, the 6 Hours of Imola in Italy on the weekend of July 1-3. His American racing schedule in the No. 48 Marquis Jet/TOTAL/IPC Porsche GT3 RSR for Paul Miller Racing resumes on July 9 with the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn.