Changing to BMW Delayed the Team Getting on Track This Season but the No. 1 Car Finished with a Flourish
By Godwin Kelly
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – One of the most impressive rallies during the 2022 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season went practically unnoticed by the masses.
Paul Miller Racing, featuring drivers Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow, started the campaign without a race car but by the end of the season had collected two GT Daytona (GTD) wins and the IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup championship.
While a sixth-place finish in the overall GTD driver and team standings doesn’t often merit notice, had they been able to race in the Rolex 24 At Daytona to open the season and finished ninth or better, PMR, Sellers and Snow would be wearing the crown as the season team and driver champions as well.
The team switched from Lamborghini, which it ran with great success from 2016-2021, to the new BMW M4 GT3 this season. There was just one problem: BMW had a flood of orders and did not have a car ready for PMR in time to compete in the Rolex 24.
PMR, which won the 2018 GTD championship and 2020 IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup with Sellers and Snow, received the No. 1 BMW M4 GT3 in time to run the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts but was involved in an early on-track incident. But there was a silver lining to that story.
“We got driven off the road at Sebring and had some serious damage to our suspension with a LMP3 car that was spinning,” said team owner Paul Miller. “When that happened, the Sebring race became a test session for us because we had a two-hour stop to put the rear suspension back together. After we fixed it, we decided to just use the rest of the race as a test.”
That test proved invaluable. It provided the team a baseline to work from and allowed Sellers and Snow the chance to learn the nuances of the new BMW.
“It took a lot of effort for Madison and Bryan to figure out how to drive the thing because it is a completely different animal than the Lamborghini,” Miller said. “We could drive that car into a turn and jump on the brakes and go on. You can’t drive the BMW that way at all. The brakes are not that great, but that’s not the style, the car likes to really go fast. Madison and Bryan did a really good job adapting themselves to a completely different driving style.”
Now that the team has a year of experience with the BMW, Miller has a new appreciation of the product, which he says possesses the durability of a tank.
“The remarkable thing about the BMW was it was incredibly reliable,” he said. “BMW did a lot of reliability testing but no speed testing on this car. They really didn’t know how competitive the car would be. The car is just fabulous.
“We’ve been run into and sideswiped and banged into a number of times and we have cut down tires, but we’ve never knocked the toe out of the suspension or anything like that,” he added. “It’s really incredible. It has been a great car for us. The first year out to be able to win the Sprint Cup is just fantastic.”
The prospect of more success in the PMR camp has been cranked up for 2023, considering it started this season with no car, then scored wins at Long Beach and Lime Rock Park plus three additional podium finishes to take home the Sprint Cup. With PMR’s assistance, BMW also claimed the GTD season manufacturer’s title.
“Our expectations are high,” Miller said. “We are very optimistic about 2023. We think we have a real shot. We have done a lot of testing this year. The BMW is a fabulous car and it’s very sturdy. We are very excited about next season.”