Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Squad Off to Quick Start in WeatherTech Championship
Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Did you know that Paul Miller Racing has finished inside the top three of the final IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Daytona (GTD) point standings in three of the last four years?

You’re not alone if you didn’t, and that’s just fine with Bryan Sellers, who co-drives the team’s No. 48 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 with Madison Snow.

“I hope it feels like we fly under the radar,” Sellers said. “It’s certainly important, people’s perception of you, because of the long-term outlook on the sport and what you’re doing, but I don’t have a problem being the group of guys that is under the radar.

“Hopefully, we can just continue to go under the radar, do our job and be recognized when it matters. We don’t need to be recognized when it doesn’t.”

That’s going to be harder to achieve this year if the team performs as strong as it did in last month’s season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona. Sellers and Snow were joined in the No. 48 Lambo by their longtime endurance racing teammate, Bryce Miller, and Andrea Caldarelli at Daytona. They led a total of 153 laps in the GTD class en route to a third-place race result.

Since 2014, when the team ultimately finished second in the GTD championship standings, its best Daytona result was a fifth-place run in 2015. In each of the past two years since Sellers and Snow joined the team, the team posted results of 16th and seventh at Daytona.

“I guess the first thing that comes to mind is, not to say that we did ‘bad’ the last two years at the first 2-3 races, but we didn’t perform as well as we did at the end of the season,” Snow said. “It always seemed like, at the end of the season, we were able to get everything out of the car, out of the crew, out of the strategy, everything worked together and we had good luck. Now, we’ve been able to start the year out with that.

“Having that good start definitely gets your hopes up for the rest of the year. We had third in the championship once (in 2016), and then last year, we were up there and got a penalty that brought us down in points, but it shows you how good we’ve been able to be at the end of the year.”

The only GTD team that has performed better in the GTD class since the merged series began in 2014 is Scuderia Corsa, which has won the class title the last three consecutive seasons, including the past two with Christina Nielsen, who now races the No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche, and Alessandro Balzan, who now is joined by Cooper MacNeil in the No. 63 WeatherTech Ferrari. Sellers is familiar with the team’s approach, especially the last couple of years.

“I think Christina and Alessandro both have laid a huge blueprint in what it takes to win the championship,” Sellers said. “You win a couple races when the opportunity presents itself, but you limit your bad races. I know that sounds a little bit cliché, but that is the blueprint.

“Those guys went in, and I think last year, went on a six-race podium streak, which is unprecedented. Then, when they weren’t on the podium, they were just off of it, fourth, fifth. You know, no eighth-, no 10th-place finishes, no mistakes. Ultimately, that took them into position to be able to go to Road Atlanta (at the end of the season) and just start the race to win the championship.

“Yeah, that’s definitely the blueprint. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as building a house and you just follow the blueprint. You have to execute it, and that’s what’s so hard.”

The team is working diligently to ensure its execution is top-notch. One area Snow identified as having improved dramatically is in driver changes.

“When me and Bryan first started out in the car, we were 35 seconds to do a driver change,” he said. “It was a long time and it wasn’t that smooth. We’d get it done and we’d be fine, but it wasn’t perfect.

“Now, when we were at the (Roar Before the Rolex 24) test, we did one driver change in 15 seconds when we were practicing. What did we actually change there? Very, very little. I guess it was just practicing it, changing where the driver stands and gets out of the car, how he holds the seat belts, how we loosen our seat belts. It’s all that small stuff that we’ve performed on the entire car that helps.”

We won’t know until the end of the season whether or not improvements like driver changes or the team’s season-opening podium, will pay dividends in the form of a GTD championship. But it’s hard not to like their chances heading into the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts.

“I mean, you can talk yourself into a lot of things, but we feel strong,” Sellers said. “Daytona is definitely one of the hardest races. You go in, it’s four guys, it’s at the beginning of the season, you’re kind of getting tossed back into it again. So, moving to Sebring, everything settles down a little bit.

“You get the opportunity to assess how Daytona went, apply it and then move forward again. We still have some test days that we get to do leading up to Sebring, so you feel good moving forward about where we’re at. We also feel good knowing where we have to get, too."