INDIANAPOLIS — It’s a rare feat in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship for a team to clinch a class championship before the final race of the season. But that’s exactly what Paul Miller Racing just accomplished.
Madison Snow and Bryan Sellers drove PMR’s No. 1 BMW M4 GT3 to a calculated third-place finish Sunday in the TireRack.com Battle on the Bricks at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. It was the seventh podium finish in 10 races in 2023 for Sellers and Snow – five of which were achieved with race wins – and more than enough to lock up the second Grand Touring Daytona (GTD) class championship for PMR and its driving duo since 2018.
It all adds up to one of the most impressive GTD class campaigns in IMSA history, and Sunday’s result also clinched a second consecutive IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup for races lasting less than two hours and 40 minutes for Sellers and Snow. But there’s still more to play for because Snow and Sellers are just four points out of the lead in a tight battle for the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup that will be decided in the season-concluding Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
That, by the way, is Paul Miller Racing’s home race; the team’s shop in Buford, Georgia, is about a dozen miles as the crow files from Michelin Raceway. So don’t expect the team or its drivers to give anything less than maximum effort Oct. 11-14 as they attempt to add a second Michelin Endurance Cup title to the one they won in 2020.
“We aren’t done yet,” declared PMR team manager Mitchell Simmons. “Yes, we have the championship wrapped up, but we still have one more title to fight for and a home race to run. I know that even though we already clinched the championship, every member of this team is already looking at what else we can do at Road Atlanta. What other history can we make?”
Team Has History of Success with Multiple Manufacturers
It’s been quite a run for Miller, a former sports car driver who teamed with the likes of Brian Redman, Hans Stuck and Bob Akin in IMSA endurance races, including a class win in the 1988 Rolex 24 At Daytona. Paul Miller Racing was formed in 2010, initially competing with Porsche and Audi cars.
In 2016, PMR switched to Lamborghini, in what was also the first year Sellers and Snow drove for the team. They earned their first GTD class win together at VIRginia International Raceway on the way to third place in the championship standings. Their form slipped in a winless 2017 season, but Sellers and Snow triumphed in the 2018 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring and went on to claim the class championship with a thrilling third-place finish in the season finale at Michelin Raceway.
PMR switched from Lamborghini to BMW in 2022 and took race wins at Long Beach and Lime Rock Park. They finished a misleading sixth in the championship but would have been in contention for the title had they not had to miss the Rolex 24 waiting on arrival of the new BMW.
That strong form continued into ’23, and with this year’s title already in the bank, Snow is glad he doesn’t have to try to replicate the dramatic finish to the 2018 campaign in a few weeks at Petit Le Mans.
“It’s awesome to win a championship, but doing it earlier is a lot better than doing it at the end of a 10-hour race,” Snow remarked. “With Paul Miller Racing, we did that back in 2018 and there’s a lot of pressure on the line in that situation, so we put a lot of work into this weekend (at Indianapolis) to try and get it wrapped up, and we did the job.
“The team always had excellent car setup and pit stops,” he continued. “Doing everything right all year long, hitting our marks every time and not making any mistakes – that’s what got us this championship.”
While the team’s GTD record of five race wins this year is impressive, Sellers looks back to a race where the PMR duo finished second as critical to their march to the championship.
At the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, the No. 1 BMW suffered an unusual electronics failure in the steering wheel shortly after a restart. The subsequent diagnosis and replacement left Sellers and Snow two laps down, but they were able to battle back.
“We pitted with about three hours left in the race to get off strategy with the other cars,” Sellers recounted. “Luckily, the cautions fell just right, and we were in the right place to get a pass around and a final wave-by, all on the same yellow. Then we were able to be able to drive back to second, to a podium finish.
“You always have these races that could have sort have ruined you, or make or break you, and that was the one for us that made a big difference,” Sellers added. “We could have walked away with last place points, but instead, we walked away with second. I think that was a defining moment for us.”
Sellers Is PMR’s Yin to Snow’s Yang
Sellers and Snow have made for an extremely strong driving tandem since 2016, winning 12 races together in addition to their multiple championships. Snow almost towers over Sellers physically, and Madison’s introspective personality seems at odds with Bryan’s outgoing nature. But it adds up to a winning combination.
“I wouldn’t want to be driving with anyone other than Bryan; he has helped me so much,” said Snow. “He’s the one who helped me get to where I am, and he still helps me every single weekend, not only to get faster on the track, but he’s a good friend who helps me off the track with everything in life. He’s awesome.”
The amazing run of success in 2023 also left its mark on Sellers.
“Having a year like this year makes an impact,” he reflected. “I certainly have not had a year like this in my career before. When you have five wins and clinch the championship before the final race, it is different, and I think it’s very special. For the next week or so, it will be nice to kind of sit back and take it all in and appreciate what we have been able to do as a group. We haven’t been able to do that yet, since we were still right in the middle of the racing.
“What’s important is moving forward, but I think you would be a fool not to take a step back and enjoy this for a second.”
Team owner Miller paid the ultimate tribute to his drivers and the organization he founded and helped create.
“This has been a dream of a season, and to lock up the title with one race to go, it just doesn’t get much better,” Miller said. “Madison has shown his incredible maturity and growth this year, and today was no different. Bryan has been key in so much of our success, whether it’s through hard charging like at Watkins Glen or keeping an eye on the big picture in really difficult conditions like today.
“I’m so proud of everyone on this team,” he added. “I cannot say enough about all of them. They work tirelessly to make this car the best that it can be, and that has paid off this season. What a year!”