Bryan Sellers says the new Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo provides a “huge change” in drivability and car setup, although a significant step forward in aero performance compared to its championship-winning predecessor.
Sellers and the reigning IMSA GT Daytona class title-winning Paul Miller Racing team have been coming to grips with the Italian manufacturer’s updated GT3 contender, which features a comprehensive Evo package.
Among the key changes for 2019 include a larger rear wing, re-profiled front splitter and rear diffuser, as well as an upgraded 5.2-liter V10 powerplant based on the engine block from the Lamborghini Huracan Performante.
While having completed limited laps during a rollout at last month’s Michelin On-Track Opportunity at Daytona, Sellers, his new-for-2019 co-driver Ryan Hardwick, along with Corey Lewis and Lamborghini factory driver Andrea Caldarelli focused on learning the nuances of the Huracan GT3 Evo at the recent Roar Before the Rolex 24.
“For us, it’s evaluating where we were and where we are, because I think we had a very strong grasp on the old car, but finding out what applies with the new car,” Sellers told Sportscar365.
Sellers said the biggest year-to-year difference comes in the aero department, particularly with the reshaped front splitter.
“The rear wing, even though it’s bigger, you get similar aero numbers, so you kind of trim to where you don’t feel that and it doesn’t change how you drive the car,” he said.
“But the big front splitter changes how you drive the car drastically.
“Now, you can feel the front of the car when you brake holds the air much better than before so you have to be careful with it being a lot more pitch-sensitive.
“You have to make sure you don’t pin it on the nose coming into the corner, which wasn’t necessarily a problem before on the other car.”
The task of adapting to a new car for the Paul Miller crew comes after running the same pre-Evo chassis for the last three seasons.
“I was begging for a new [chassis] at the beginning of last year but we knew the Evo kit was coming so we needed to wait for it to come before we got a new one,” Sellers said.
“It’s different for the guys when you put it on the setup pad, it looks different to the other one, it adjusts different to the other one. It takes some time when you come to the Roar to know which end to move.
“For what is essentially the same race car, it is a huge change.”
While providing a challenge in setup for next weekend’s season-opener, Sellers is optimistic on the car’s potential for the remainder of the WeatherTech Championship season.
“The one thing we did find for sure that it definitely makes more aero,” he said. “We can brake later but we’re way draggier than we were also.
“We wanted more aero, we asked for more aero, now we have more aero, but how do we find a way to get the right amount of drag for Daytona vs. aero?
“When we go to other places, I don’t think it will be as big of a deal. We’ll just try to optimize car balance based off the aero. But [at Daytona], it’s such an important thing.”
“Really Neat” to Watch Hardwick’s Debut Rolex 24 Experience
Sellers says he’s enjoyed following his new co-driver Hardwick through his first experience of preparing for the Rolex 24.
The 38-year-old Lamborghini Super Trofeo graduate takes the seat of Madison Snow, who elected to stand down from racing amid his IMSA-adjusted driver rating to Gold.
“For me, it’s been really neat to see someone go through it for the first time again, and to see the excitement on his face,” Sellers said. “I don’t know if he was more excited or I was more excited for him to go on track the first time.
“It’s kind of cool to go through this whole process again and the best thing about him so far is he wants to be good.
“He wants to get it figured out and he’s going to do what it takes to make it happen.”
Hardwick, who claimed the Super Trofeo North America Am championship and World Final title last year, has also praised the car and the proficiency of the Paul Miller crew.
“The car, honestly, is amazing. It’s great to drive and it’s just a testament to this team because they’ve got this chassis dialed very well,” he told Sportscar365.
“This is a real race car, not that the Super Trofeo’s not, but the Super Trofeo is probably overpowered for the braking system and the aero.”
Jake Kilshaw contributed to this report.