Champion Driver to Share No. 48 Chopard/Yokohama/IPC/TOTAL Porsche
Paul Miller Racing reinforced its chances of closing out the 2011 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón on a high note today with the announcement that champion French sports car driver Emmanuel Collard will join regular co-drivers Bryce Miller and Sascha Maassen in the No. 48 Chopard/Yokohama/IPC/TOTAL Porsche 911 GT3 RSR for Saturday's Petit Le Mans.
"I am really excited to drive with Emmanuel," said Bryce Miller. "He is very fast but also an experienced driver who will know when and how to exercise patience against pure speed. Experience like what he has always counts for so much at Petit Le Mans and makes the difference in bringing home a 10-hour result or not."
Collard, 40, joins the team fresh from winning his third Le Mans Series championship with the Pescarolo team at Estoril last weekend. He is a past factory driver for Porsche, Cadillac, Toyota and Corvette Racing, and owns overall victories in the 12 Hours of Sebring, Daytona 24 Hours and multiple class victories in the 24 Hours of Le Mans among many other endurance racing accomplishments. He claimed his first class victory in the Petit Le Mans last year in the GT2 class with Corvette Racing.
"I'm very happy to be back here, because last time I was here was last year and I won with Corvette," Collard said. "Especially to be here with Sascha, I've known him for so many years now when we were driving for Porsche. I'm really please to help the team, I hope, and also to race with Bryce. I've known him for a few years now when we were driving at Daytona, so I know everyone except the mechanics. I already feel confident in the team."
Collard is certainly no stranger to Maassen, an accomplished European road racer in his own right. The two drivers have competed against each other and on the same team many times over the years, and his addition came as welcome news to the German racer.
"I've known Manu for quite a while," Maassen said. "As kids, he beat me in karting, then we drove together in GT cars and in the (Porsche RS) Spyder (LMP2 car). He was always quick and reliable. I am looking forward to have him on the car. He is the best choice!"
Testing for the Petit Le Mans got underway earlier this week and will continue on Wednesday. Official practice starts Thursday, with qualifying set for Friday. The Petit Le Mans, which will run 1,000 miles or 10 hours, whichever comes first, gets the green flag at 11:30 a.m. ET on Saturday, October 1.
Paul Miller Racing is among the top GT teams competing in North American sports car road racing. In 2011, the team will contest the full American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón, as well as the Daytona 24 Hours. The team enjoys a long-standing relationship with Porsche and competes with the support of four international sponsors in Chopard, Yokohama Tire, IPC Information Systems and TOTAL Lubricants.