Whether it be in Formula One, IMSA GTP or IMSA Michelin Pilot TCR, racing a new car for the first time is always nerve racking for the crew who have put countless hours into preparations and the drivers in charge of handling the new machinery. Heading into the BMW Endurance Challenge at Daytona was no different for the Unitronic JDC-Miller MotorSport crew and drivers Mikey Taylor and Chris Miller piloting the brand new Gen2 Audi RS3 LMS TCR.
Having only received the new car towards the end of 2022 and having to wait on spare parts and crucial electrical systems such as the ABS kit from Europe, did not allow the team any time to test the new car before the start of the IMSA season at the Roar Before the 24 only a week before round one of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Championship. After spending most of the time during the Roar focused on basic systems checks and initial car setup the team was fairly optimistic about the new TCR machinery based on the 8Y Audi RS 3 street car.
However as luck would have it, fuel pump gremlins struck the team on the first day of on track action only two days before the season opening event. Scrambling to diagnose the issues with only two on track sessions before qualifying the team changed everything they could to solve the problem which hampered them on the high banks of the Daytona International Speedway. Heading into a short 15 minute qualifying session still uneasy about the performance of the #17 TCR the team handed the car over to the capable hands of Minnesota based Chris Miller who put on a stellar performance to put the car beyond anything the team had seen in the prior few days to qualify 3rd place only 0.124 seconds off pole position.
A surprised Miller said “Most of our testing and practice time was spent working through issues and learning about our new car, so when I went out for qualifying I was excited to really push and see what the #17 Unitronic Audi could do. From the first lap I had a good feeling in the car and thought we might be able to earn a surprising pole position. Ultimately, we came up a tenth of a second short but it was still a great effort by the team to give me a fast car in our first competitive session with the Gen 2 Audi RS3 LMS.”
Starting the race, the team approached their strategy with caution, unknowing of what gremlins the new car would throw at them over the course of the four hour endurance event. Daytona veteran Chris Miller did a fantastic job in his opening two stints to keep the car within the top three positions and at times leading the race as others cycled through their pit stop windows. With two hours and forty minutes remaining a convenient caution came up with a stranded Porsche Cayman GT4RS which allowed the always ready crew to hit the pit lane for a driver change to South African Mikey Taylor, fill the car up and bolt on a new set of stickier front Michelin tires.
Restarting in the lead of the race Taylor was able to maintain the position for several laps before the dreaded radio call came into the pit box reporting similar issues which struck the team during the practice sessions. Unable to maintain the speed of the chasing pack Taylor and the team decided to focus on getting as many championship points as possible while nursing the car home to the finish. “It was the first race in a long time that I haven't attacked and fought for positions because I knew we just needed to get to the end and get out of here with some decent points! A lot of our championship competition had issues and I know this car will be fast this season once we get these initial gremlins out the way so I was happy to come home for a top 5 finish all things considered!” said Taylor after the race.
Although not another victory at Daytona International Speedway, the top 5 finish kicks the Unitronic JDC-Miller MotorSports team championship pursuit off in a positive way and all eyes now turn to round two at Sebring International Raceway for the Alan Jay Automotive Network 120 on March 15 - 18 where the team will look to repeat their podium finish from 2022.
Stay up to date on our activities, learn more about the team, our pro drivers, the #17 RS 3 LMS TCR race car, our tremendous sponsors and shop for team merch on getunitronic.com/motorsports. Tune into the UNITRONIC social media pages or IMSA.TV for race coverage of all ten championship events!
UNITRONIC® engineers industry-leading aftermarket performance enhancing software and hardware for Audi®, Volkswagen®, Seat®, and Skoda® cars worldwide. Best known for its performance software engine and transmission calibrations, Unitronic enhances vehicle performance while maintaining complete OEM-like reliability and drivability. Unitronic’s UniCONNECT+ Programming and Diagnostic Interface empowers Unitronic Clients to safely reprogram their engine and transmission control modules from the comfort of home, anywhere in the world. Learn more about Unitronic's competitive advantage at www.getunitronic.com
About JDC-MILLER MOTORSPORTS
JDC-MILLER MOTORSPORTS is a world-class multiple championship winning sportscar racing team, with a total of 18 championships, 60 wins, 57 pole positions, and 195 podiums, most of which coming by way of their Prototype class programs running in the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship. Highlights include an Overall Win at the Six Hours at Watkins Glen in 2018, 2017 Winner Extreme Spirit Award, and 2017 Winner Jim Trueman Award, providing the team an automatic entry into the 2018 24 Hours of LeMans. Learn more at www.jdcmotorsport.com
About LIQUI MOLY USA – Canada
LIQUI MOLY USA – Canada is a subsidiary of LIQUI MOLY GmbH, a global motor oil and additive company based in Germany selling products in more than 150 countries. LIQUI MOLY offers more than 4,000 items globally covering automotive, powersports, commercial vehicles, boats and watercraft and more. LIQUI MOLY USA - Canada is actively involved in motorsports in numerous capacities highlighted by teams in IMSA USA and IMSA Canada, TC America and Trans AM. Learn more at www.liqui-moly.com
About OUT THERE BRANDS
Out There Brands was founded by professional racing driver Mikey Taylor. He saw a need for a company that offers extreme personalization and customer service in the branding industry and founded OTB in order to fill it. Producing custom-made displays and apparel to bring attention to our customers. Using his experience in the motorsport industry, Mikey focused on working with suppliers and forming partnerships to utilize only the best materials and products from around the world to deliver durable, cost-effective and stand out products! Learn more at www.OutThereBrands.com
About OSTAR MOTORSPORTS
Ostar Motorsports is an automotive performance parts reseller created by military veterans with big dreams. We offer an extensive performance parts catalog, professional installation, maintenance, tuning, fabrication, and more for: Audi | VW | Porsche | Lamborghini | Mitsubishi | Honda | Nissan | Toyota | Ford | Chevrolet .We offer our parts line up to both the retail and commercial customers. A wholesale program focused on small shops starting out, who need help getting started. A UPS Partnership has allowed us to offer worldwide shipping at great rates. Take advantage of our experience on the field. A TEAM composed of racers, fabricators and mechanics who are willing to help you get your project done and back on the road. Learn more at www.ostarmotorsports.com
About FLATROCK MOTORCLUB
Located in in the pristine countryside in Westel, Tennessee sitting on the Cumberland Plateau and within a day's drive from 75% of the U.S. population, Within our 800 acre motorsports and entertainment destination, Flatrock Motorclub is a world class motorsports facility and premiere luxury destination resort. Flatrock is designed by world renowned architect firm Tilke and features a members only 3.5 mile club track with exquisite amenities and unmatched accessibility. Flatrock Motorsports Park will include a 24,000 sq foot members club and resort with luxury lodge and spa, trackside villas, a winery, brewery, restaurants, amphitheater and non-automotive sports facilities that makes the Park attractive to those that want to enjoy the multiple opportunities beyond the traditional motorsports activities. Opening in Summer/2023. Learn more at www.flatrockmotorclub.com
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