JDC-Miller MotorSports finishes 8th with their Porsche 963 GTP at the Detroit Grand Prix

June 3, 2024

Savage, Minnesota

The JDC-Miller MotorSports team arrived at the Detroit Grand Prix feeling confident after a very productive test at Watkins Glen. While the two circuits could not be more different, the team was confident that what was learned at the test would make the JDC-Miller MotorSports Porsche 963 competitive. Unfortunately, what was learned at the test didn’t work on the narrow, bumpy, Detroit 1.654-mile street circuit. With only two practice sessions before qualifying, it proved difficult to make up time on the very competitive GTP field. 

The late Friday afternoon qualifying session put the 85 Porsche 9th on the grid for Saturday’s 100 minute race.

Tijmen van der Helm drove the first stint moving the car into 8th. He worked his way up as high as 5th before coming in for fuel and the required driver change.  The crew had an outstanding pit stop and driver change to Richard Westbrook who settled in running in 8th. A competitor’s unfortunate move in turn 1 spun the 85, blocking the track. Westbrook was able to continue but had considerable damage to the rear of the car and pitted for repairs. This resulted in the 85 falling a lap down and ultimately having to settle for an 8th place finish.

Quotes:

John Church, Managing Partner, No. 85 JDC-Miller MotorSports Porsche 963

“The Detroit street circuit proved to be another challenging race for us. We left a bit banged and bruised, but with our heads held high as we headed to Watkins Glen for the 6-hour race.”

Tijmen van der Helm, Driver, No. 85 JDC-Miller MotorSports Porsche 963

“I am pleased with my driving this weekend. This was a very difficult track to get up to speed on and only my second street race. Richard and the team have been excellent in helping me get up to speed. I was able to take my experience from Long Beach and build on it here. I can’t say at this point I am a fan of this kind of racing, but it has been rewarding to learn what it takes. Not sure this track lends itself well to GTP cars. Probably every car had some damage.”

Richard Westbrook, Driver, No. 85 JDC-Miller MotorSports Porsche 963

“It’s hard for me to come up with anything positive. To be honest, the track is not suitable for racing with prototypes in the top GTP class. It was like being in a bumper car. The damage to the vehicles worsened lap by lap. It was unacceptable – simply unacceptable. I found it frustrating. I have such fond memories of the times we competed on the beautiful Belle Isle in Detroit. I’m looking forward to Watkins Glen – now that’s a great circuit.”

JDC-Miller MotorSports brings their Porsche 963 GTP home in the 8th position at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca

May 13, 2024

Savage, Minnesota

JDC-Miller MotorSports qualified in the 9th position and finished the race in 8th this weekend at the 2024 Motul Course de Monterey Powered by Hyundai N at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

JDC-Miller MotorSports driver Tijmen van der Helm had a good qualifying run, turning a 1:13.184, which placed him 9th fastest in the highly competitive GTP field – .869 seconds covered the entire 10-car GTP field. This was the first time IMSA has run at Laguna Seca since the track was repaved last year, and the whole GTP field broke the previous lap record of 1:13.924 set in 2022.

It was a strategy race for the JDC-Miller MotorSports team, which allowed the car to move up to 6th position after the first round of pitstops. Using a different tire strategy than their competitors, they dropped back to 10th at one point but then worked their way up to 6th. Late in the race, the team’s Porsche was pushed off the track entering the corkscrew which dropped them back to 8th for the finish.

Quotes:

John Church, Managing Partner, No. 85 JDC-Miller MotorSports Porsche 963

“Unfortunately, we unloaded on the back foot pace-wise, and it took us until qualifying to catch up. The guys did a great job on track and in the pits allowing us to grab a few spots on each pit stop. We were up and down the charts a bit and were pushed around a bit losing some of the ground we gained. We struggled with our tire strategy more than anticipated and then were ultimately pushed off in the Corkscrew which put us back a couple spots when we were running 6th. All in all a solid effort by the team and we will look forward to Detroit.”

Richard Westbrook, Driver, No. 85 JDC-Miller MotorSports Porsche 963

“We couldn’t quite make the double-stint on the tires work. It was a tough ask. The longest run we had done in practice was 20 laps or so. We had not tested a long run on our Michelin tires. The team needed to try something and it nearly came off. We were looking at a top five when the right front dramatically went away.

I felt confident about being able to defend our 6th position but then got dive-bombed going into the corkscrew and lost two positions from that move which was really disappointing. Then, it was just a case of bringing it home.

Really proud of the team. They are willing to try things to be more competitive and that is the way we like to work.”

JDC-Miller MotorSports returns to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca for the first anniversary of their customer Porsche 963 GTP program

Savage, Minnesota (May 6, 2024). JDC-Miller MotorSports is returning to
WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, where they debuted their Porsche 963 GTP
campaign one year ago. Last year, the JDC-Miller MotorSports team brought their two
week-old 963 to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca to shake down the car in a most
public way. Prior to Practice 1, the team had only made a lap around their parking lot
with the new car. Typically, in motorsports, this would be considered very risky, akin to
learning to swim by diving into the deep end of the pool; the team, however, had
confidence in their abilities and the abilities of their partners in this project.

With the help of their technical partners, Porsche Motorsport NA, Multimatic, Bosch, and
WAE Technologies, the team powered through the concise timeframe and soldiered on
to finish 7th of the 8 GTP cars and only 23 seconds behind the race winner. Gaining that
race experience set the stage for upcoming solid performances for the remainder of the
season.

For the 2024 Motul Course de Monterey Powered by Hyundai N, the team returns
knowing the car and how it responds to changes. They now have experience with the
GTP-class Michelin tires and are well-rehearsed on pit stops and driver changes.
Richard Westbrook returns to one of his favorite tracks with three wins at WeatherTech
Raceway Laguna Seca under his belt. For Tijmen van der Helm, the tracks, with the
exception of Detroit, will no longer be new to him as he returns to each of them behind
his Porsche 963 GTP wheel.

The team is confidently looking forward to this year’s race.

Quotes:

John Church, Managing Partner, No. 85 JDC-Miller MotorSports Porsche 963

“Last year, we decided to take an aggressive approach to rolling out the new car. Early
in the year, we knew we would not have the Porsche for Sebring, so our attention
shifted to Laguna Seca. The Porsche team in Weissach worked through many
challenges to get the car together and shipped, but it was clear that the timing would be
very tight. We could have waited to debut the car at Watkins Glen a month later, but I
felt strongly that we needed to start gaining experience and knowledge of this complex
machine as soon as possible. The entire JDC-Miller MotorSports crew was fully
onboard with this approach, as we were all excited to get our Porsche 963 program
underway. Through herculean efforts and many long nights by many people, we
performed very well at Laguna Seca. What we learned that weekend set us up for 4th
place finishes at the next two races, Watkins Glen and CTMP. While incredibly stressful,
we learned much about the Porsche 963 and the GTP program. Knowledge and race
experience that benefits us today. I am really looking forward to this weekend.”

Ryan Perera, Systems Engineer, No. 85 JDC-Miller MotorSports Porsche 963

“Looking back at this weekend one year ago, we went to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna
Seca, knowing our partners would help us get the car ready for the race.

There was a massive outpouring of support from our technical partners, Porsche,
Multimatic, Bosch, and WAE, who were all as excited to see this car on the track as we
were. At times, there were a dozen knowledgeable and skilled people in our garage
looking to make valuable changes and updates to the car. People were queuing up to
plug their laptops into the vehicle. It quickly became overwhelming as we had not
completely thought through how we needed to manage this process. The stress level
rose until John (Managing Partner John Church) put a stop to making changes and
directed everyone to get focused on readying the car for the race. That allowed us to
focus on fixing the issues you inevitably have with all new cars and establish a
performance baseline we are building on to this day.

After that experience, we established a process to work with our technical partners and
maximize their valuable expertise in an organized manner.

As stressful as it was, I feel a great deal of pride when looking back on that weekend.
We went to Laguna Seca to shakedown a brand-new car unlike anything we had raced
before and finished on the lead lap. Quite an accomplishment!

Josh Kerrigan, Car Chief, No. 85 JDC-Miller MotorSports Porsche 963

“We spent a couple of weeks at Porsche in Weissach learning about the car and its
systems as well as how everything went together. Our challenge for Laguna Seca was
simply time. We didn’t have any. With a new car, a ton of electrical and other
components must be installed. The punch list is always very long, but even longer with
all the added systems of a GTP car. Unfortunately, we had the car in our shop for less
than a week before the truck headed west. The drivers came and were fitted to the car.
We went through the start-up process just one time before the car had to leave. When
the trailer was opened at Laguna Seca, there was a tremendous amount of work yet to
do to make the car ready for the race. Pit stops under GTP rules had to be worked out
and practiced, as well as driver changes. Every night was a very long night.

The payoff for all the hard work came on race day. When Tijmen took the checker on
the lead lap, all I could think of was, “Wow, we did it!”