WeatherTech Racing cleared one major obstacle just before the start of this past weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans only to literally slip up on another one that knocked the No. 89 Porsche 911 RSR from the race just before the four-hour mark.
Having taken over from starting driver Leh Keen, who drove the Proton Competition-prepared car to the GTE-Am class lead, Marc Miller was just beginning the second stint of his first driving shift.
Miller raced into Turn 1 on Circuit de la Sarthe just past pit out and the car quickly snapped loose. The Porsche spun through the gravel trap and made hard front and rear contact with the barriers.
Miller was uninjured in the incident but the Porsche was done for the day, the first car out in the 84th running of the French endurance classic.
“After Leh’s first stint and my first round we were in a very solid position,” Miller told Sportscar365 after the race-ending accident. “The car was extremely comfortable and our engineers were really coming up with some great strategies.
“Unfortunately, another Porsche left pit lane and had a problem with fluids that apparently collected in the floor pan. “As it exited, the fluid dumped out to the side and I was the first car to meet it.
“We went into the braking zone, the car darted to the right immediately, and the impact just ended the day.”
The early exit was even more frustrating after the lengths the team went through earlier on Saturday to make sure they would be able to race at all.
Its third driver, Cooper MacNeil, fell ill overnight Friday and was declared unfit to race the following morning by the FIA Doctor.
Concerned about being excluded before the race even started, the team stated its case and received dispensation from the ACO that allowed Keen and Miller to race as a duo, after its reserve driver Gunnar Jeannette, also a Silver-rated driver, was not approved for competition.
Keen proved right away they were contenders. He took the lead 90 minutes into the race and at one point led a three-car train of Proton Porsches that included Patrick Long in the No. 88 Abu Dhabi entry and Wolf Henzler in the No. 78 KCMG car.
“I was in the car the first three hours,” Keen said. “It rained and we made a really good strategy call to go to slicks early. It worked out, we got to the lead and we were just cruising up front.
“I was pretty excited with the potential we had but then another punch was thrown at us.
“Unfortunately, this one was a knockout punch.”