One year ago, the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 came alive during the final hour of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. Closing driver Bryan Sellers charged to the front on his closing stint, breaking open a tight battle to win the GT Daytona class by 8.169s.
Now, the team is looking to repeat. Sellers returns with Corey Lewis in the No. 48 1st Phorm/Total Lubricants/ Mountain Motorsports/Paul Miller Auto Group Lamborghini, with Ryan Hardwick taking over the seat held by Martin Snow, who was promoted to gold status and left without a ride.
“Last year, we obviously figured out what it took to win this race,” Sellers said. “Now, being able to execute that again is going to be difficult. We’re going to give it a shot. We have an idea of what we have to do and where we need to be. Our main focus right now is making sure we have a good, solid race car that drives well.”
Sebring was one of two 2018 triumphs for Sellers and Snow, who went on to claim the GTD title. They also won at Lime Rock and scored eight podium finishes — including taking third in the endurance classics at Daytona, Watkins Glen and Road Atlanta. Failure to score points in the early rounds cost them the Michelin Endurance Cup, which they lost by only four points.
On Thursday, the Paul Miller Racing team flew under the radar, placing 10th through 12th in the three practice sessions in the class. The team picked up the pace in Friday’s final practice, with Sellers posting the third-fastest time.
“Right now, we’re not too worried about anything, other than that the car drives well and all three drivers are happy,” Sellers said. “I think our strength last year was we were able to run through all three guys and we were all comfortable with the car. That’s a huge priority when you run for 12 hours.”
Sellers also knows that there is an unknown factor that may play a role in the outcome of Saturday’s race.
“It looks like the weather is going to play a massive part this time around,” he said. “We’re just going to have to be prepared for every condition that might come our way. Rain isn’t unusual at Sebring. This is a tricky place. It’s a tough race with traffic, a lot of cars and a lot of people who don’t normally race with us. It’s also one of the most physically demanding tracks. Twelve hours here definitely takes a toll on you. It’s as difficult — and likely, more difficult — than racing 24 hours at Daytona.”
A year ago, Sellers won on the 20th anniversary of his first visit to Sebring with his father. Saturday, he will again be joined by his family at the race.
“It’s great being back with Paul Miller Racing and having my family here again this weekend,” Sellers said. “Every weekend I get to bring my kids to the track is a good weekend.”