Paul Miller Racing and Bryce Miller, joined by Audi LMP1 works driver Benoît Tréluyer, put the team's new Audi R8 LMS through its initial paces in testing this past weekend at Sebring International Raceway, the first organized on-track activity of 2014's debuting IMSA TUDOR SportsCar Championship.
The No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Audi R8 LMS will compete in the IMSA TUDOR SportsCar Championship's GT Daytona division (GTD) that promises to be one of the most competitive in the series.
"We have had fantastic support from Audi from the very onset of this racing program," Paul Miller said. "The mechanics and engineers are great, they are there full time with our guys working right alongside, and have got right into sync with the team. And to have a driver the caliber of Benoît Tréluyer sent to help us get started is incredibly helpful, and an indication of Audi's great support that we sincerely appreciate."
Having taken delivery of the new Audi at Paul Miller Racing's Atlanta-area race shop only a week earlier, the team quickly announced its plans and prepared and transported the R8 to Sebring to take advantage of not only the Sebring test but a similar session at Daytona International Speedway tomorrow and Wednesday.
"I am really excited to just get up to speed and learn the car as quickly as I can," Bryce Miller said. "We are just trying to soak up all of the technical support that we can that is being offered by Audi and Benoît to get our team to where it needs to be to kind of reset and go racing again. These test days are just a good opportunity to make some measured and precise changes and learn the car."
Part of Audi's World Championship-winning LMP1 team, Tréluyer was sent by the factory to assist the Paul Miller Racing squad in what amounted to a familiarization run at Sebring. A full-season co-driver for Bryce Miller will be announced in the coming weeks.
"I received a call two weeks ago with the offer to come here and test the R8," said Tréluyer, who was part of the overall winning Audi team at this past March in the 12 Hours of Sebring. "I have never tested the R8 before, and when I had the opportunity to come here with the Paul Miller Racing team, an American team, on this circuit Sebring, which I really like, I was really looking forward to testing the GT car here."
Tréluyer, Bryce Miller and the team had specific goals for the Sebring test that were focused on running through a productive work schedule instead of bottom-line performance.
"We are here to do a shakedown, just test the car and help the team as much as I can," Tréluyer said. "I don't have so much experience in the real GT car, I am learning quite a lot too, and if I can give some of my experience and learn at the same time, it's good." This coming IMSA season will be the first time Paul Miller Racing has raced with Audi after decades with Porsche, but the team's parent organization, the Paul Miller Auto Group, has operated Paul Miller Audi since 1976, one of the largest Audi dealerships in the nation.
"We are just ecstatic to have this arrangement with Audi," Bryce Miller said. "To be able to work with them beyond motorsports, at the dealership level, it is beneficial to our program that we have relationships there, and that we have a history there of success. That's a good platform to build a motorsport program on and just makes it easier to stand it up and push it forward."
The two-day Daytona test will see Paul Miller Racing and the rest of the IMSA TUDOR SportsCar Championship field run from 9 am. to 5 p.m. both Tuesday and Wednesday, with a one-hour lunch break each day at Noon.
Photo credit: Paul Miller Racing.com [2013 Bob Chapman, Autosport Image]