Bryce Miller enjoyed his first American Le Mans Series race at Road America more than his second. The Summit, N.J., driver hoped to repeat his 2008 victory in the GT2 class, but a few factors conspired to keep him out of contention on ...
Bryce Miller enjoyed his first American Le Mans Series race at Road America more than his second. The Summit, N.J., driver hoped to repeat his 2008 victory in the GT2 class, but a few factors conspired to keep him out of contention on Sunday.
Miller shared the No. 87 Marquis Jet / IPC Systems Porsche 911 GT3 RSR with Porsche factory driver Wolf Henzler of Nurtingen, Germany. Henzler qualified sixth in class on the 4.048-mile Road America road course in Elkhart Lake, Wis., after leading most of the Saturday qualifying session.
Miller drove the first stint of the two-hour 45-minute race. He and most of the class were thwarted by an early caution period, when the position of the safety car gave a one-lap advantage to a pair of BMWs. They went on to finish first and second.
When the Farnbacher Loles Racing team called Miller in for a driver change, he pitted from eighth in class and Henzler returned to the track ninth, one lap behind the rest of the field. Henzler regained two positions, but was forced back to pit lane just 22 minutes from the finish when a toe-link broke on the car's left-rear suspension. The early retirement left the team with a 10th-place GT2 finish.
Miller noted the Porsche engine restrictor size mandated by series rules limits the race engineers' ability to configure the car's aerodynamics for optimum performance.
"The restrictor plate is a large handicap for the Porsche and as a result we had to run a really low-downforce configuration to compete with anyone," he explained. "Our competitors can run an aggressive aero package with the strong straight-line speed they've been afforded. The advantage in braking, minimum cornering speed and tire wear is the comparative consequence."
Both Henzler and Miller had difficulty with the left side of the car, perhaps precursors to the problem that ultimately took them out of the race.
"I had a condition with the car very late in my stint, where I was having trouble keeping the front-left from locking up under braking. When Wolf went out, he reported that the car was pulling to the left. He flat-spotted the left-front tire, so he had to pit," Miller noted. "The pin in the left-rear upright broke, so that retired us from the race."
The Road America race was Miller's second of the season behind the wheel of a Porsche in the ALMS. Between the two races (Lime Rock Park in July and Road America), he drove a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR in the Total 24 Hours of Spa, where he finished second in the GT2 class.