Chopard Porsche (run by Paul Miller Racing) and co-drivers Bryce Miller and Sascha Maassen have good reasons for optimism in the 2012 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón season.
Heading into its second full season of competition in one of the world's most competitive endurance championships, the team announced today it would use Dunlop tires on its brand-new Chopard/TOTAL/IPC Porsche 911 GT3 RSR.
"We are really excited to announce that we will be using Dunlop tires in 2012," said team owner Paul Miller. "After learning a lot during our first season in GT last year, we expect to take a few steps forward in 2012. Dunlop has been successful in ALMS competition and we're looking forward to adding to that record this season."
"Our preliminary test to evaluate the tires and the relationship going forward was a positive experience," said Bryce Miller. "The chemistry between their engineers and us seems to work quite well and we're excited about the potential to move forward and develop a Porsche tire with them."
Dunlop had an outstanding 2011 season. ALMS drivers and teams using Dunlop tires won championships in the LMP1 and GT classes. Dunlop also won the ALMS LMP1 tire manufacturers championship and the LMP2 championship in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC). The tiremaker enters its fourth year of ALMS competition in 2012.
"We have ambitious plans in 2012 to build on our championship-winning successes, and we see Paul Miller Racing as the perfect partner to help develop our tires for the latest specification Porsche," said Ben Michell, Dunlop's motorsport project manager. "Dunlop is proud of our multiple ALMS championships in 2011, and we are delighted that the team has chosen Dunlop as they drive for success in 2012."
"It has been a privilege to watch Paul Miller Racing grow over the past several years, and Porsche Motorsport North America is proud that the team has chosen to contest the American Le Mans Series GT class in a 2012 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR," said Jens Walther, president of Porsche Motorsport North America. "It was great watching the progress of the team in 2011 during its first year in ALMS GT and even better that they are now stepping up with a new car and the new tire manufacturer. We believe in competition and welcome Dunlop as a new tire manufacturer on the RSR - there are now three Porsche customer teams with four cars on three different tires."
The new, Dunlop-shod No. 48 Chopard Porsche makes its public debut in this week's annual American Le Mans Series winter test at Sebring International Raceway. The test will represent the first seat time in the car for Miller and Maassen, and they're eager to get going.
"I haven't driven the new car, but I've heard a lot of good things," said Bryce Miller. "There has been some necessary changes made to the car that bring it up to date with some of the changes that the competitors have made to their cars in recent years. The refresh was really necessary and most everyone is generally excited about the changes that have been made."
"I am really excited about the new Porsche car and the new Dunlop tires," added Maassen. "It's going to change the game for us. We are optimistic that we will improve, and I am very happy that the Paul Miller team decided to let me be part of an interesting and promising program in 2012!"
The 2012 ALMS season begins with the 60th Anniversary Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring fueled by Fresh from Florida on Saturday, March 17.