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This Pro-Am BMW Team Won Too Much. Now It's Fighting IMSA's Best

paul miller racing's imsa gtd pro entered bmw m4 gt3
The Pro-Am BMW Team That Won Too Muchillustration by Tim Marrs / Photos courtesy of IMSA

IMSA's GTD Pro class exists for the manufacturers. It is for the Corvettes, the Mustangs, the Ferraris, and the Aston Martins, all run by factory-supported brand partners with lineups of factory-employed drivers. BMW's latest GTD Pro representative is a little different, and that team's quest to compete against IMSA's best was one of the most unique stories on the entire 58-car grid at Sebring.

Since 2011, Paul Miller Racing has competed as a privateer in IMSA and its predecessor's GT classes. The team ran Porsches, Audis, and Lamborghinis before landing on BMWs, winning a handful of endurance races and one title in the GTD class before moving into a BMW M4 GT3 in the second round of the 2022 season. Since then, the team is on fire: Seven wins in 22 GTD races, including a sprint racing trophy in 2022 and a title in 2023.

1 paul miller racing, bmw m4 gt3, gtd pro bryan sellers, madison snow, neil verhagen
Jake Galstad

For the past nine years, Paul Miller Racing has effectively been Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow. Sellers has been racing in sports cars since 2005, running a Panoz, an E46 BMW M3, and the only race car in the American Le Mans Series ever to run on Falken tires, before landing in a Miller Lamborghini. He has raced all but one season since 2016 alongside Snow, a driver who entered the top category of sports cars at 17 and has now served as the team's designated "silver" driver for most of his career

In one season, the pair was split. The GTD class that the Paul Miller team has run for most of its existence requires teams to enter at least one driver that IMSA and the FIA's arcane licensing system consider an amateur. Snow has served this purpose for most of his career, but IMSA moved him up from that crucial "silver" classification that allowed the team to run in GTD ahead of the 2019 season. The team did not have a car eligible for the then all-pro GTLM class in 2019, so the program continued on without Snow. Sellers and his new co-driver finished a disappointing 10th in class. IMSA eventually accepted the FIA's classification, and Snow returned in 2020.

1 paul miller racing, bmw m4 gt3, gtd pro bryan sellers, madison snow, neil verhagen
Jake Galstad

That has since changed again. Snow and Sellers won the 2023 GTD championship in convincing fashion, making Snow's chances of retaining a silver designation slim. By the conventional logic of an IMSA team, that gave PMR a choice: Either it could continue in the privateer-focused GTD class with a new silver-rated driver or it could move to the factory-oriented GTD Pro, where a team would typically drop its in-house talent for factory-backed drivers supplied by their partner manufacturer. The team opted for neither choice, instead moving up to GTD Pro and retaining its core of Sellers and Snow.

As Snow tells Road & Track, the option to move up to GTD Pro without adding factory drivers fixes his problem with the driver rating system.

"Right now, it doesn't matter to me because I can drive with the person I want to drive with, which is Bryan," Snow told R&T. "Before this, it was a little bit of a pain in the ass because I wanted to drive with Bryan, but I couldn't because both of us were gold."

1 paul miller racing, bmw m4 gt3, gtd pro bryan sellers, madison snow, neil verhagen
Jake Galstad

Despite the choice to stick with continuity over new hires, Paul Miller Racing does have a factory driver: Snow has signed with BMW, making him a manufacturer-affiliated ace without ever having to leave his home team. Sellers, who has run different sports cars in the two series that merged to create the modern IMSA since 2005, has never been a factory driver. That means he understands the gravity of what Snow has accomplished better than most.

"I can tell you that, for everybody here, [Snow's promotion] is one of the most rewarding things that any of us have ever encountered in our racing,” Sellers said.

"For me, especially, I take some certain amount of pride in the whole situation, and you continue to hear all this time like, 'oh, you did such a good job with Madison, you did such a good job with Madison.' The reality is I didn't do anything with Madison except drive with him, but what I did see is witness him grow and evolve as a driver, and work hard at his craft, and really turn himself into one of the most well-rounded drivers I've ever driven with. To watch that, he's like my little brother.... To see someone so close to you get that and see that, it was special."

1 paul miller racing, bmw m4 gt3, gtd pro bryan sellers, madison snow, neil verhagen
Jake Galstad

Now, Sellers and Snow step up together to compete against the best GT field on this half of the world. Paul Miller Racing's M4 GT3 is the lone BMW in the class. It fights two new factory-backed Corvette Z06.Rs built and run by longtime Corvette Racing factory partner Pratt Miller, two new factory-backed Mustangs built and run by Porsche 963 chassis partner Multimatic, and an Aston Martin fielded by the same Heart of Racing program that plans to take the Valkyrie to Le Mans next year. Paul Miller Races does all of that with the same drivers and the same pool of resources that it brought to the pro-am GTD class last year. As Sellers notes, that competition level means the team has to do more than it did in last year's banner season.

"The one thing we know for sure is that what we did last year, it won't be good enough. The difficult thing about what we're stepping into is that you are for sure underutilized, you have less tools already than what anyone else does. Lexus has a simulator, drivers spend time in the simulator every week before the race. Corvette has a simulator, Ford has a simulator, Heart of Racing built a simulator. Now you've named off four or five of your biggest competitors that have a tool that you don't have. Just based on things like that alone, we have to find more within ourselves. Otherwise, we're behind already."

That progress is how this all should work. Paul Miller, Madison Snow, and Bryan Sellers have been doing this at a high level a long time, so the trio are moving one level higher and going for everything. Sellers thinks this is a process others can repeat:

"I would say hopefully, hopefully what this does is set some sort of ladder in place to show that this the goal. It is the goal to start here, to advance to here, and to move. I hope that IMSA and others embrace that."

1 paul miller racing, bmw m4 gt3, gtd pro bryan sellers, madison snow, neil verhagen
Jake Galstad

Paul Miller Racing has finished third and fourth in its first two IMSA GTD Pro races. That is good enough for second in the 12-car championship standings. Second is a triumph, but not the triumph PMR is looking for this year. Everyone involved with the program wants to win in GTD Pro, to win against the best American GT racing has to offer. Sellers is waiting patiently for that day, and he already knows what he's looking forward to when it comes:

"I think here we all do this for each other. For me, one of the greatest things about winning a race and being the guy that closes is when you're done and the weekend's over, and you get to see the pictures of the guys on the wall with their hands up. It's the greatest moment. It's greater than the trophy. It's greater than the podium. It's greater than crossing the start-finish line. That's what I love."

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