Bryce Miller celebrated his birthday in racer style on Sunday, earning a second-in-class, fifth-overall finish in the Total 24 Hours of Spa. The Summit, N.J., driver was the top U.S. finisher in a strong international field, despite his rookie ...
Bryce Miller celebrated his birthday in racer style on Sunday, earning a second-in-class, fifth-overall finish in the Total 24 Hours of Spa. The Summit, N.J., driver was the top U.S. finisher in a strong international field, despite his rookie status on the 7.004-km (4.35-mile) Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.
Miller shared driving duty in the No. 97 Marquis Jet / IPC / Total Porsche 911 GT3 RS with Porsche Junior Team drivers Marco Holzer of Bobingen, Germany, and Martin Ragginger of Salzburg, Austria, and their teammate Luigi Lucchini of Brescia, Italy. The car was prepared by Brixia Racing.
The young squad started eighth on the GT2 grid, but quickly moved up to third in the first hour of the race. They lost two laps due to the timing of caution periods, but their consistent pace and smooth pitstops kept them in podium contention throughout the race. They took second in class during the 18th hour and held the position through a final round of driver stints for the podium finish.
"Everyone on the team delivered a pretty good birthday present! It's really exciting to be here and to experience the energy and the enthusiasm of the fans. The depth of talent on the teams and the track are unlike anywhere else," Miller said.
"The caution flags came out one lap after our pit stop on two occasions and we went down a lap. The car had the pace to compete for the win, but we just got really unlucky. But most of the challengers behind us had mechanical difficulty or errors, so by the end of the race, we didn't have a lot of pressure. We were able to manage our own pace and bring it home."
Heavy rain limited track time during practice sessions, so Miller had to learn the challenging circuit during the race. But with a strong car and crew, he got up to speed quickly.
"It was a little bit tricky because the course is really complicated and all our practice time was overrun by rain. I got four or five dry laps and that was my only first-hand experience at trying to find braking points and turn points," he noted. "During the race, I had to be really methodical in my improvements because the track gets really dark at night and there's a lot of fog. It was crazy, but it was fun!"