Miller Time Blog: Rolex 24 at Daytona, 1/26-28/2010

published on Racing Wire

(Jan 26, 2010) – Daytona week has arrived and somehow the Miller Barrett Racing team has managed to cover an overwhelming amount of work in a short period of time.

Although sometimes it seemed like controlled chaos, with no extra points for style and form, we round the corner now in the final hour with a proper team transporter, embroidered gear and autograph cards, a really talented crew, an assembled team of volunteers, decals placed, an accomplished driver lineup and many improvements in both race preparation and car development as the dust begins to settle.

Most importantly, everyone can now assume our identity gained as a team through this experience and with this comes a new sense of purpose and resolve as the team approaches its first-ever Daytona 24hr event and sportscar championship. Thank you to everyone involved for making this possible.

I will next be reporting in to RacingWire when I arrive at the track on Thursday. Keep rooting for the No. 48 Marquis Jet Porsche!

(Jan. 29, 2010) – We had a good day today and were able to learn more about the car but did not find the last final magic adjustments to bring the car to the pace we were hoping for. We will now try to perform some small fine tuningduring the race to address this concern but are happy with the driveabilty of the car for a 24hr event, so we’ll have to limit our risk in any changes we make before the race. All in all we are in a pretty good position with a good driver lineup and good crew and I believe we can continue our momentum and navigate our way.

(Jan. 28, 2010 – Reporting from Daytona Night Practice) — Today was a big improvement for our team from where we finished during the last official test days – having placed as the 4th Porsche on the grid in qualifying. We have closed the margin and we have a baseline that is good enough for smaller fine tuning adjustments.

This result will allow us to focus on improving the car further but also it allows our crew the time to prepare for the 24hr race by not having to run in the round two qualifications tomorrow. Everything so far is moving in the right direction so keep tuned…

(Jan. 30, 2010 – 7:46 p.m. EST – 19:44 Remaining) — We had a great first run at the drop of the green flag. The team gave me a good car and set the tires very well. We were able to move up from P13 to P5 but after the second pitstop we got caught out on rain tires in drying conditions and the yellow never arrived forcing us to pit under green. Luke Hines has just taken the car over from Kevin Roush but some contact during Kevin’s stint has affected the  geometry of the car. The communication over the radios is critical from driver to driver at the moment because of changing track conditions and the brake bias changes being made as a result. Currently running P10. I’ll report back in to Racingwire later on.

(Jan. 31, 2010 – 2:39 a.m. EST – 12:51 Remaining) -- My last driving stint called for a driver change with my co-driver Peter Ludwig. He had a great stint, kept it clean and on track and steadily chipped away at his pace, a challenge presented him due to some lack of time in our car during the test days but he performed well nonetheless.

Unfortunately at the end of his stint he reported battery voltage problems the team simply could not sort quickly. We did the driver change and tried a couple more laps but could not risk retirement from the race with the battery acting up as it was.

The requirement to fix was 8-10 minutes – our crew did a great job to bang out the work and get it done, keeping us in the race with the promise of still collecting points for the Championship.

Subsequently, we are down many laps but with the conditions as they have been, attrition has shown very high and hopefully it continues in our favor. I have to go get some rest now!

(Jan. 31 – Post Race) — It is incredible we made it as far as we did. The crew rebuilt so many elements on the car for the 18hrs we were running.

We were many times the fastest car both early and late morning. Unfortunately we had to retire the car due to damage sustained from contact with a DP which was catapulted on-track after hitting tire barriers in pit lane. Our car was collected in this process.

15pts will go toward our Championship. Everyone deserves their rest – one incredible effort by everyone especially considering when it’s the team’s first ever 24hr race!

Bryce Miller was born July 26, 1982 in Honolulu, Hawaii and he currently resides in Summit, N.J.. He’s married to Jill and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a minor in History. He’s sponsored by Marquis Jet, IPC Systems and TOTAL Lubirciants. Among his many racing accomplishments include the 2007 Rolex Sports Car Series GT team championship. His team website is www.brycemiller.net and you can follow Bryce on Facebook and Twitter.

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My Spa 24hr Experience

GRAND-AM: Bryce Miller, My Spa 24hr Experience
We finished second in GT2, fifth overall! It was a great birthday present that my team BMS/Brixia Racing had delivered.
SPEED Staff  |  Posted July 29, 2009 Summit, NJ
American sportscar ace Bryce Miller came away from the Spa 24hr race with a newfound appreciation for the daunting Belgian circuit. (Paolo Briatico)

American Grand-Am racer Bryce Miller made the trek to Spa, Belgium last weekend to compete in the Spa 24 Hour race and returned with a memorable account for SPEEDtv.com of his first experience at the famed circuit:

I arrived in the small town of Spa, a beautiful quaint city nestled in the Ardennes hills, on Tuesday evening before the Spa 24 Hours. The city looked innocent enough at first appearance, but I quickly came to respect the abrupt weather patterns and frequent rain showers for which it is named – Spa.

When I arrived at the Francorchamps circuit the following day, I got my first live sneak peak at the 4.3-mile track on a motor scooter. It would be some of my best ‘dry’ time on the race track.

It became evident very quickly why this track commands so much respect while also being the clear favorite of many drivers. The entire track is very high-speed which, of course, is a blast but there is little margin for error without large consequence. The curbs are dramatically different at all of the corners and subsequently the cars accept varying usage at each corner. Local knowledge at this circuit would be a huge advantage.

And now I have seen for myself and can confirm that Eau Rouge cannot be captured properly in a photo or on video. It is a tremendous segment of high-speed compression with a blind exit – lots of fun, but to be taken seriously and difficult to master without leaving anything behind. The micro-climates that move across the 4.3-mile circuit make it additionally challenging, as it can be pouring rain on one corner and dry at another. I was glad to have familiarity with our car, the Porsche RSR.

Thursday was almost all rain with pockets of dry. The fans still came out and began to set up tents, and the energy and enthusiasm was palpable. These people love their motorsport! I was approached by several people who wanted autographs on pictures of cars I had raced at the junior formula level, and I found myself asking how they had obtained these photos. Corporate hospitality was massive and it was clear by the operations of the teams that the depth of talent in personnel ran deep, as well. By race day, the crowds had swelled so much that our pre-grid looked more like that of Formula One.

I started our race having logged only four or five intermediate/dry laps and maybe 20 laps total practice time. I still had no dry braking points or turn-in points and I still had yet to challenge the limits of the camber changes in the corners, as well as the curbing. I had to make my improvements methodically, especially in intermediate conditions with a wet track and marbles lying off the race line.

A 2nd in his first try at the Spa 24hr will have Miller coming back for more — all with the goal of standing on the top step of the podium. (Paolo Briatico)

We had two pit stops that occurred exactly one lap prior to a caution flag, and in both instances we found ourselves on the unlucky end of having the pace car split the field and put us down a lap. Our pace was good to compete for the win, but the caution flags had effectively neutralized our contention barring an error or failure in the leading Ferrari.

In my last stint in the car, we had built up enough of a gap to those behind us that we could manage our pace and focus on bringing the car home. We finished second in GT2, fifth overall! It was a great birthday present that my team BMS/Brixia Racing had delivered, along with my co-drivers Luigi Lucchini, Martin Ragginger and Marco Holzer.

This is an event that I will have to come back to in the near future – I am hooked like the rest now. The feeling from both outside and inside the cockpit is very special. I think I will now also have to join the fraternity that says, “My favorite track is Spa.” Oh, and the Belgian waffles, chocolate and beer all stand up proud to their origins as well – I know because I tried them all.

~Bryce

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Interview with MAR Magazine

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MAR: Who were your auto racing heroes?

BM: Either Ayrton Senna or Mika Hakkinen.

MAR: Have you always wanted to drive racecars for a living?

BM: Yes. I went away to prep school when I was 11 years old, but returned to finish my last few years of high school at home. When it came time for college, I decided on the University of Vermont. I’m a big skier, and I thought Burlington and the surrounding area was beautiful. I first started racing cars professionally while in college, and I spent a lot of time trying to talk to teachers about what I was doing. I sometimes had to ask if I could take their test on a different day because of a conflict I had with my career. It was pretty funny-I would get these wild looks from my professors. It was very difficult to manage but somehow it all worked out.

After college, Porsche had invited me to the UPS Porsche Junior Team Shoot-out a couple years prior to compete for a factory seat. That’s when I made the decision to cross over to sports car racing. Up until then, I had been driving open wheel formula cars.

Sports car racing seemed to be on the rise, while formula racing was losing some popularity, especially in the U.S. I also saw it as an opportunity to continue the excitement of motorsports in my father’s Porsche business. I wanted to reassert among car enthusiasts that we were the standout option for Porsche customers. We’ve worked really hard at events to get our customers and our sponsors close to the sport-they get to meet the personalities and see the technology behind it. Many of our Porsche customers walk away with newfound respect for the machinery they’re driving.

MAR: Was it tough changing styles?

BM: The transition from formula to sports car racing was difficult. In formula racing, your head, wheels and tires are all exposed. The aerodynamic effects on the car are significant. The cars weigh much less and respond very quickly to your inputs. The same driving principles apply in sports cars, but I had to change a lot of nuances in my style. It takes a lot more hustle; the cars require multiple inputs-it’s really much more difficult than driving a formula car. And driving a Porsche was a whole separate challenge due to the unconventional placement of the engine over the rear axle. This unorthodox weight distribution makes the Porsche a unique and fun car to drive. The first year was a learning experience, but you never stop learning.

MAR: You’ve risen through the ranks rather quickly in sports car racing. How important is the team surrounding you?

BM: The team aspect of racing is crucial. It has to be a reciprocal dynamic where the team believes in their driver and the driver in their team. This energy brings value to the cause and is instrumental in producing results. My goal is to surround myself with the right people and position myself with the right teams. A solid program starts with good hardworking people who have proven experience. A massive commitment from the crew is essential. Given the commitment of the people around you, it’s important as a driver to establish real relationships with your team members. I believe that fosters a sense of teamwork, but most importantly it puts meaning behind all the sacrifice and makes winning that much cooler.
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Cap Chat


ImageDAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 9, 2008) – Picking out a helmet design can sometimes be a daunting task, to say the least. But for Bryce Miller, it’s just another part of being a race car driver.

The Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 GT driver, in his first season with TRG, said he enjoys layout out the design, but keeps in the back of his mind the need for his sponsors to be in certain places.

That was his main point of consideration for his existing helmet, which displays the U.S. flag in a not-so-obvious fashion. As Miller currently spends much of his time in sports car racing, the helmet’s design took more of a backseat than it had in the past and focused more on his primary sponsors, including Marquis Jet, Resorts International, Total and IPC.

“Laying out a canvas that would allocate appropriate space for placement of my sponsors’ logos was something I took into consideration in this helmet design,” Miller said. “I think open-wheel drivers learn to use their helmets the best as a marketing tool in this way because their helmets are constantly exposed to photographs. This is why the majority of the graphic effects have been restricted to the top portion of my helmet – the rest of the canvas is relatively conservative and lends opportunity to placement of our four sponsors.”

The design appears to be fairly basic with four bands wrapping horizontally around the helmet. The top bears the most of graphics, with blue stars laying atop blue tear drops on a blue canvas.

“The tear drops taper from the front to the back of the helmet and were incorporated to give the helmet a feeling of speed or motion,” Miller said. “There is a lot of contrast delivered by shading and pearl or chrome undertones, which plays with the light well and achieves different effects from under different lighting and angles. The rest of the helmet is largely made up of Red and Pearl White with smaller Navy Blue and White lines accenting these larger bands of color.”

Thus, the U.S. identity.

“You wouldn’t necessarily know this to be the theme of the helmet unless it was pointed out to you,” Miller said. “I spoke with my Helmet Designer at Bullseye Visual on how to achieve this identity in an understated manner. We used off color blues and reds and a pearl white making the focus more about the appeal in color design rather than theme. The theme is also played down by the Navy Blue in the helmet which helps to make the Pearl White and Red colors pop.”

Miller, a veteran of open-wheel racing himself, once had a helmet that resembled a Jamaican flag and was teased by his crew, he said. However, that helmet came up missing from Miller’s home.

“We joke that someone drove out of our driveway to return home proceeding through tolls, drive-thru and the like all while wearing my helmet,” Miller said. “Fortunately, I have grown to like my current helmet design better – plus this new design carried me to a Championship in 2007 so it must be good!

Miller said he has liked his recent helmet designs, and has enjoyed viewing his fellow competitors’ caps.

“I think everyone’s helmet design is interesting because it is a statement or an expression of that person and it’s also the identity that driver would more than likely choose to have the racing community identify them by,” Miller said. “Why and how people choose to express themselves is always interesting.”

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A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That

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The video rental store in my area has closed down so my girlfriend and I rent or buy our movies now using iTunes and then watch it on our TV. It’s really easy and I highly recommend it. We rented “Enchanted” last evening, starring fellow Grand-Am driver “McDreamy”. The first 10 minutes of the movie is a cartoon so I found myself telling her she downloaded the wrong movie. Then suddenly these cartoon characters turned into real people and I looked like a real jerk! What a setup! There were some really Laugh out Loud funny parts and we both enjoyed it.

I’ve made a fundamental shift to focus a little more on my cardio-training as we approach Mexico City. The altitude there is significant and I tend to be a little sensitive to altitude changes. However, I’m really looking forward to Mexico City to redeem ourselves of our result at Homestead. My co-driver Ted Ballou tangled with another car in the opening stint and it cost us a significant reduction in horsepower through a crimped left exhaust pipe and we had a slight geometry change in the left rear of the car as well. The incident cost us a stop-and-go penalty which put us a lap down and then a later miscommunication rendered us another stop and go because of a pit stop that was out of sequence. Still, Ted and I are excited about the possibilities in the 2008 Championship. He has never been to the track before but his rate of development coming from the KONI Series has been rapid and I know by race time he will be ready.

I haven’t been feeling so well the last month or so and after a visit to the Doctor I’ve learned that Ragweed in Florida has been at an all-time high this year. With all the time I’ve spent in Florida the last couple months it makes sense why my allergies would be so out of control. I have felt like I have a cold. Now that I’m on top of it more I’m starting to feel better but my publicist never cuts me a break and keeps cracking the whip so I have to keep writing these journals for this supposed Blog Captain, Michael Harker? Have you guys heard about this? Too bad the writer’s strike just ended. ; )

Talk at you next Friday!

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Top 20 Most Popular Comments and Questions

Monday, 31 March 2008

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As I mentioned in last week’s blog, I drag raced down 11th Ave. at the opening ceremony for the NY International Auto Show last Saturday. Afterwards we had our 2007 No. 87 Marquis Jet Porsche on display for the weekend so I ended up staying there all weekend to sign autographs. It’s amazing the responses you get from people when wearing a driver’s suit next to a race car.

Top 20 Most Popular Comments and Questions at the Auto Show (none are exaggerated):

1. “You look like Carl Edwards.”
2. “Are you a REAL race car driver?”
3. “Where do you go to the bathroom? Do you pee in the car?”
4. “How do you drive for 24 hours straight?”
5. “Can I just take a driving test to get a racing license?
6. “I bet I could beat you.”
7. “I want to start racing, where can I send my resume to? I can start by changing tires for you.”
8. “Do you drive for NASCAR??
9. “Why don’t you drive for NASCAR?”
10. “Is this your job? Do you just drive a car for a living?”
11. “Can I buy your car?”
12. “Is this free?” (The signed hero cards)
13. “How much for a signed autograph?”
14. “Could you get me free tickets to a race?”
15. “How did you get into racing?”
16. “You must get a lot of speeding tickets, huh?”
17. “What’s your everyday car?”
18. “How’s it going, Dirk…Oh, you’re not German?”
19. “You and Dirk look alike, how’s that?”
20. “Do you use NOS?”

Video from Auto Show

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Excited to Lay Rubber Marks on NYC Street, Legally

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This Saturday should be a fun time and a purposeful exercise for my sponsors Marquis Jet and Resorts International. I’ve been told that 4 blocks on 11th Avenue will be closed down allowing for us to do some standing starts and doughnuts in the 2007 #87 Farnbacher Loles Championship winning  Porsche. I am happy for my sponsors who will receive great national press coverage from the event. Dirk Werner, my co-driver from last year is home in Germany studying and enjoying some time before he hops on a plane back to the states for the Miami Grand Prix next Saturday. It is too bad he won’t be there – that would be cool, but I guess he has the Autobahn and Nurburgring public roads to enjoy back home. To him 4 city blocks is probably a pretty small public playground.

I don’t remember a time I could ever have done speeding, doughnuts or standing starts on a public road legally here in the US with exception to the street courses I have raced on. After this Saturday I will be able to say I have! It is a shame we cannot drive faster here in the states. However, living here in New Jersey I can say with confidence that this is a good thing. The number of bad drivers on the road in New Jersey and New York is just incredible. When you go to Germany and then come back here to the states your brain freezes for a week – you think – how can everyone be doing this so wrong! So until our states figure out a better driver education and enforcement system I would have to say this metropolitan area certainly needs speed limits. And until we figure it out here in the US it will have to be a missed opportunity at a more efficient road system.

Next Saturday is the real prize. We head to Miami for the 2nd round of the Grand-Am Rolex Championship and I look forward to a good result coming off our 2nd place at The Daytona 24 hours. I have been training hard and have also kept myself in a racecar for the last couple weeks of downtime on the Grand-Am schedule, so are feeling confident and excited about the race.

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Whole Family is Passionate About Racing

Bryce and Paul Miller

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Some of my fondest, most vivid memories growing up were watching my father [Paul Miller] race cars. He raced for about 30 years and was ranked as a top 10 Porsche driver in the world and was one of the more respected endurance drivers of his era. His career placed him in the exciting early turbo 911′s, the Porsche 934 and the Porsche 935. He also became a mainstay in the Trans-Am Series in the early and mid-80′s where he piloted a Porsche 924, custom built to compete against a larger presence of American manufacturers. He won and held the record for most top 5 qualifying positions for many years.

My older brother, Trent and Uncle Kenper also raced as well. I would go to many of their races and watch them in the pits. Just the exposure alone of walking around the pits and meeting people like Paul Newman inspired me to want to follow in my family’s footsteps. I was a big Formula 1 fan, and I’d get up with my dad on Sundays at six in the morning to watch races on TV. My godfather, John Gorsline who handles insurance for a lot of racing drivers, grabbed some tickets for us one time from an F1 team in Montreal. We had access to the pit lane, paddock, and pre-grid. I remember standing in front of the garages when Mika Hakkinen waved to me moments before going on track. That was really cool. It made racing seem tangible, like something I could do someday.

I was very eager to drive throughout my childhood so my father letup and got me into a go-kart when I was seven years old. My dad and I went to the track every weekend, and we worked really hard. That gave me some of my first insights into the elements that determine success in a race team. Having a father around who could coach me and share his experiences was invaluable and had tremendous impact on the rate of my development—it was very instrumental for me.

I could never say that racing is a passion of mine; it’s a passion of my whole family. Between my father, uncle, older brother and me, we have a combined 75+ years of experience in motor racing. It’s definitely an addictive passion!

Well, I have to go to another practice for the 12 Hours of Sebring this Saturday…

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Enjoying Time at Home

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I started racing 18 years ago, and last year was by far one of the most exciting years as of yet. It was my first year in the Rolex Series and my co-driver, Dirk Werner and I achieved 10 of 13 podiums and the GT Team Championship. I missed the Driver’s Championship last year since I wasn’t in the same car as Dirk for the Rolex 24 At Daytona and he ended up a few points ahead of me when we began the season together in the second race. With that, my ultimate goal this year is to win the Driver’s and Team Championship.

Since our Homestead testing days I have been enjoying time at home with friends and family. A friend made off with my team jacket after visiting me and now I’m having difficulties getting it back – he must feel compelled to compensate by telling all the girls he’s a racing driver. I told him as long as you don’t tell them you’re me then we should be okay, Tim!

I’ve finally had some time to watch a couple of movies – Michael Clayton is a good one. I’ve also been training a lot and wrecking myself doing it, but I really enjoy the process especially for how measurable the results can be in a racecar.

We have two new sponsor’s joining our effort this year – Resorts International & Total Lubricants. We are very excited about both partnerships and their level of involvement and enthusiasm. Both companies look to benefit from networking opportunities we will deliver this season in events and through other initiatives. Total Lubricants is an especially interesting sponsor to be partnered with because of their long history in motorsports, in particularly in Formula 1. We have undergone a testing program of their oil and are benefiting from the quality and performance of their product.

I believe this season will be an extremely tight Championship for the GT category. Homestead is a small track with a couple hard braking zones and good passing opportunities. We look forward to a positive result at Homestead and are excited about our car’s development heading into the race.

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