ALMS GT - Miller/Maassen Ready For Mosport
PARSIPPANY, Jul. 19, 2012: The name may have changed from Mosport International Raceway to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, but regardless of its name, most American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón drivers and teams would agree that the 2.459-mile, 10-turn circuit in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada is one of - if not THE - toughest racetracks on the annual ALMS calendar.
That's the challenge facing Paul Miller Racing, co-drivers Bryce Miller and Sascha Maassen and the No. 48 Dunlop/Chopard/TOTAL Porsche 911 GT3 RSR are facing along with the rest of their ALMS competitors as the series makes its lone visit north of the border for Sunday's two-hour and 45-minute Grand Prix of Mosport.Miller and Maassen head to CTMP on the strength of three top-eight performances in the ALMS GT class from their four 2012 events to date, topped by a best result of fifth in the season-opening 12 Hours of Sebring. Despite the track's reputation, both Paul Miller Racing co-drivers have had some success at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
Miller qualified on the GTC class pole for his maiden ALMS event at the track in 2010, while Maassen has twice finished second in class (ALMS P2 in 2006 and 2007) and owns class podiums in more than half of his Mosport starts (5 of 9).
"Mosport is the quickest track in the ALMS calendar," Maassen said. "I have a lot of respect for it. I think it is very challenging for the driver and the car. A good setup is very important because it can hurt if you have to take risks to go fast."
That is the downside of racing at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, as Miller and his then teammate, Luke Hines, learned back in 2010. The sweetness of Miller's class pole position and a strong performance in the race quickly turned bitter toward the end.
"We were leading by nearly a full lap when Johnny Cocker drove Luke into the barrier on the back straightaway - a daunting crash," Bryce explained, before adding his feelings on the racetrack. "Mosport has a flowing rhythm to it, which I quite enjoy. It is mostly very high speed so you don't want to make a mistake on this circuit."
It was obviously a track team owner Paul Miller enjoyed during his driving career as well. After all, he earned a pair of Trans-Am victories at Mosport back in the 1970s.
Fast-forwarding to this weekend, however, what is the team's game plan heading into the race weekend?
"There is a fair amount of time in the schedule this week to sort the car out but we still need to attack each practice session as if it were our last chance before race time," said Bryce Miller. "I think if we can bring this level of intensity we will see some impressive results which could serve as an important morale booster for our team going into the busy schedule ahead of us in these next several weeks."
After promoter test sessions throughout the day on Friday, official ALMS on-track activities get underway on Saturday morning with practice from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. ET. An all-driver autograph session is scheduled at the team transporters in the competition paddock on Saturday from 12:00 Noon to 1:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, followed by a second practice session runs from 2:10 to 3:10 p.m. ET. GT-class qualifying is scheduled to run from 3:35 to 3:50 p.m. ET on Saturday afternoon.
Sunday's schedule includes a warm-up session from 9:10 to 9:30 a.m. ET. The Grand Prix of Mosport takes the green flag at 12:00 Noon ET on Sunday and concludes two-hours and 45-minutes later.
Live video streaming of both the race and qualifying will be offered through ESPN3.com. The live qualifying broadcast is scheduled to begin at 3:15 p.m. ET on Saturday, July 21, with the live race telecast beginning at 11:45 a.m. ET on Sunday, July 22. Television coverage of the Grand Prix of Mosport will be available on a slight tape delay, airing on ESPN2 at 1:00 p.m. ET on Sunday.