Throughout the year, Continental Tire will focus on celebrating the fans, media, drivers, and teams and their contributions to sports car racing, including a weekly trip down memory lane in Sportscar365’s Continental Tire IMSA Reflections series.
This week, Paul Miller Racing’s Bryan Sellers looks back on his 2016 season in which he made the switch to the GT Daytona class and, alongside co-driver Madison Snow, took a historic win for Lamborghini at Virginia International Raceway.
What was it like switching to the GT Daytona class in 2016 after years in GT Le Mans?
“It was actually pretty eye-opening making that step from GT Le Mans to GT Daytona because initially everyone thinks that the factory power behind GTLM actually made it a step ahead of everything else at the time.
“What you realize really quickly is that any category you’re in is competitive. The level in GTD now just continues to increase because you bring all sorts of manufacturers, drivers, from all sorts of different places and put them all into one spot.
“While the outright pinpoint is still a little bit higher in GTLM, what you have is GTD is a depth that is basically unrivaled anywhere else in this series and that’s what makes it special.
“You have guys like Alessandro Balzan, Jeroen Bleekemolen, then you have Christina Nielsen and Madison Snow, these Silver drivers, and the depth of competition is huge.
“You’re not just going up against guys that are here for fun. That’s what I love about the class. It’s pretty special. Once you get into it you realize it’s hard.”
What was it like to take the checkered flag in the car, knowing what you had accomplished?
“There’s no better feeling than being the guy who actually finished under the checkered flag. It’s certainly a lot of pressure in those situations to make sure you get the job done, but once it’s over you can take a step back and it’s the greatest feeling in the world.
“It’s what you race every race for and you don’t get it that often, so when you do you’ve got to take a step back and appreciate what you have.”
Did that race at VIR play out according to plan for you and the team?
“Hopefully without coming off the wrong way it was a pretty dominant race for us. We were never really threatened for the win all weekend.
“We led every single session, Madison put it on pole and led every lap in his stint, and the only laps we didn’t lead were when we transitioned in between pit stops.
“It was flawless. We had a very, very good weekend, the kind that don’t come along very often but when they do you’d better take advantage of them.”