Matt Bell and his Paul Miller Racing team-mates battled through some late-race contact to bring home their Audi R8 LMS in 12th place at the Sebring 12 Hours.
Making his debut at the once-round-the-clock classic, Bell and team-mates, Christopher Haase and Bryce Miller, enjoyed the first half, with much of the 6 hours going to plan. By the halfway point, Haase, Miller and Bell had worked the #48 Audi up to fourth and looked to be eyeing a podium result.
However, just after the eight hour mark a prototype misjudged a gap and contact ensued, sending the Audi back into the pits for repairs. Despite some stellar work from the Paul Miller Racing mechanics, the team lost 12 minutes in the pits and any chance of a podium finish had vanished.
“There were a lot of crashes in the race due to poor driving standards and we were a victim of that,” said Bell, who brought the car home to the flag. “Bryce was driving and he had no chance of avoiding such a reckless move. It was a shame as we were running competitively and I was very quick in my last stint. We could have challenged for a podium.
“On a positive note it was fantastic to be part of the Paul Miller Racing team for my first Sebring 12 Hours. They did a great job on strategy and set up to get us into the top six and then to get us back in the race after the contact. Sebring is an amazing event and I can’t wait to go back! I wish the team the best of luck as they head into the rest of the season.”
Bell now turns his attention to the season-opener of the British GT Championship at Oulton Park on Easter Weekend.