Marc Miller says Gradient Racing’s best-ever IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship result proves that the Acura squad ‘belongs and deserves’ to be a regular podium contender.
Miller and Honda Performance Development factory driver Mario Farnbacher drove the team’s Acura NSX GT3 Evo22 to a second place GTD class finish in Saturday’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.
The result, coming in the luxury automaker’s home race, marked the team’s second WeatherTech Championship podium finish after its third place run at Detroit Belle Isle last year with Miller and Till Bechtolsheimer.
It came in the 100-minute contest that featured a long green flag stretch that opened the race, which Miller said he felt potential in the car from the get-go.
“I did lose a position or two just from getting pushed wide or pushed out on having that issue where you just can’t roll through because you’re right behind someone,” he explained.
“But I was able to fight back and get those positions back before the pit stop and the guys executed and [an] awesome pit stop got us out we gained a position in the pits.
“I handed over to Mario with maybe one or two scratches on each mirror but other than that, it was a clean car and we knew that the car was going to be good as the fuel burned off.
“I was still at basically a half tank and the car was getting better and better and better so we knew that it was going to be very good.
“I just radioed notes like where the car was weak and they would have to defend and where it was really really strong so we knew where he can make moves and stuff and as soon as he got out there a lot of things happened.
“There was some attrition and kind of put us in a good position and gave us an easy spot here and there. But then he fought hard to get us in a strong position for a podium.
“And at the end there it was just a matter of riding because I don’t think we had enough for the Paul Miller car.”
Miller believes the team showcased its full potential on Saturday, in what was a one-off run in WeatherTech Sprint Cup competition thanks to the sponsorship from Acura’s anime YouTube series, Chiaki’s Journey.
“After really having a car that could be on the podium the the first two races this year, this proves that both Acura and the team belong here and deserve to be standing on the podium and spray champagne,” he said.
“We are really thankful to all the guys in Acura for helping us put this together at their home turf and we really would love to do more.”