Driver Spotlight: Marc Miller
Driver, CJ Wilson Racing (CTSC GS) & Riley Motorsports (IWSC GTD)
What are your 2016 plans?
“This year had a great opportunity to race with the Viper Exchange/Riley Motorsports team at Le Mans, which kind of came about late in the game. It was a test and an opportunity to test drivers in that category. I was able to get that seat and in addition to that, was able to test in a GTD race at Laguna Seca, my first experience in both.
“It was just announced that I’m going to have another opportunity to compete in GTD races in all the endurance races in the 2016 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Part of that is in preparation for Le Mans because it’s so important to Ben (Keating, co-driver) and Jeroen (Bleekemolen, co-driver), to go to Le Mans with some continuity so it was important to get me more seat time.
“And Dominik Farnbacher will be the fourth driver at the Rolex 24 at Daytona. So we have two drivers who have won the race, Jeroen is a machine and probably should have won it so I’m the odd man out.”
What are your plans with CJ Wilson Racing next year?
“I had the opportunity to try and balance the ST and GTD racing doing Le Mans because the IMSA schedule works really well with the ACO. I have raced for CJ (Wilson, owner) for five season’s and I hope to continue to do that in a more full-time role in 2016.
“We’ve been looking at developing a GS program and we don’t have anything to announce but I can say that we’re pretty excited that we’re going to come up with something soon. That would just be, not the icing on the cake, but the cake for me.
“That’s been my home for the last five seasons and the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge has been one of the most competitive series so they are both big cakes with icing.”
What are your thoughts on the re-vamped GTD class for 2016?
“I think it’s going to be great in 2016 because the cars are going to be even better being closer to a GT3 spec. For instance the Viper was designed to be a GT3 car initially so being able to run traction control and ABS is going to make the cars a little bit easier to driver.
“I like the fact that it’s a spec tire program, and everyone runs on Continental tires. All teams are going to be tasked with the same challenges so it’s really going to come down to engineering and drivers. The competition is going to be bigger this year because more manufacturers are coming in and teams are switching to other cars. Everyone is in this learning process at the same time which should make for really competitive racing.”
What are you doing in the “off-season,” as a driver, to prepare for 2016?
“There is without a doubt, no off-season. The day after Petit Le Mans I was at the gym working with my trainer. I’ve been to several tracks to coach, I’ve been working on meetings to develop new partnerships, there is no time off. I think I took five days for vacation but when I was flying home I was already stressed out thinking about what needs to be done to make 2016 successful.
“As far as the physical part, this is the worst time of year between traveling all the time and the holidays so I’m working out as much as I can. We have a test in November at Daytona and when we are finally able to announce things on the CJ Wilson Racing side, there will be more testing.
“I’m also working on a 25 Hour of Thunderhill ride for more seat time. There’s no off-season, there’s just more racing. If you take a month off, it takes you two months to get back.”
You attended your first SEMA show this year, what did you think?
“I am a SEMA rookie. Literally, I walked more than I wanted to and I haven’t seen a quarter of the show. For me, I’m here to see certain people but you have to walk two miles across various exhibit halls between meetings and you’re walking past things you know you should stop and take a look at.
“I’ve not done SEMA 2015 justice because I haven’t taken one picture. I’ve just been focused on getting where I needed to go. I treat this like I treated Le Mans, but I took a lot more pictures at Le Mans. This show, if you’re in the automotive trade, is an absolute must.
“The things that are done to cars here are borderline criminal…in a good way. It’s been incredible and I regret making it a short trip but I needed to get back to work.”