Bruce Miller’s United Nations Motorsports
Plans For 2004

Bob Brannon met Bruce Miller at, of all places, the IMSA Talk Forum gathering at Sebring last year. It became apparent then that Bruce had aspirations to field his own team in the American Le Mans Series. That dream is about to happen. Bob spoke to both Bruce Miller and Jill Savage (Savage Media of Indianapolis – the team’s media director) about the team’s plans for the 2004 season.

This team is the culmination of a fifteen year dream for Bruce Miller, the black freelance photographer and Vietnam War veteran. Bruce, who once had a wheel come off his Triumph TR3 during his first driving school experience in the early 1970s, has been a motor sports fan since childhood. He has spent the past fifteen years as a motor sports photographer, and has participated in many drivers’ schools, “to learn how to shoot better photos based on a driver’s viewpoint.”

The name, United Nations Motorsports, was chosen because it shows and means “all are one.”

“The world is one big melting pot and we should all live as one, not in this constant state of confusion,” said Jill Savage. “We’re showing this can be done.”

dailysportscar.comAccording to Bruce (right), “Our goal is to bring more blacks into motor sports, not recycle the ones already in there. We plan on having a two-car team in ALMS, Toyota Atlantics, Speed World Challenge and have training programs in lower classes of road racing.”

Two Ferrari 360s are entered in the 12 Hours of Sebring, March 17-20. “We expect to have approximately five black drivers, maybe four, in ALMS, with an additional one or two in our training program,” says Bruce.

There will be three drivers per car at Sebring for the team, which will be based out of Houston, Texas for 2004. One big surprise was the announcement that Eric Burch has joined the team as "Director." Eric, formerly Team Manager of Carsport America / American Viper Racing, will handle "a little bit of everything, especially the sportscar side of the team, while Jill stays focused on the open-wheeled program," Bruce explained.

“In our Atlantics and C2 program we have an American (Greg Palmer), an Estonian (Tonis Kasemets) and our Swedish engineer, Ove Olsson. All are great talents and provide our sponsors with positive international exposure that they deserve. Also, we don’t want to be known as “the black team.” It’s a black owner-principal with diverse teams and crew. We will have a crew of about 25 - 30 at Sebring. They are all experienced in endurance or road racing.”

Why did Bruce choose ALMS? “The ’Mother’ of all races, the Le Mans 24 Hours. 300,000 persons attend Le Mans week. There is nothing else like it in the world. And, the way ALMS is set up…it’s a very well done series.”

When asked if the team has aspirations to race at Le Mans Bruce said, “Absolutely! If we get the invite, we’re going!” Jill, Chief Pit Reporter / Head of Media in ‘01 and ‘02, said, “Nearing the half-way mark of the 10 year lease of ACO / Le Mans in the U.S., everyone involved at ALMS has a passion for sportscar racing like no other series.”

As to the sponsors, an “unveiling concert” is set to occur as soon as the final “t’s” are crossed and the “i’s” dotted, which is hoped will happen this week. Drivers will be officially announced at that time.

The team is anxious to get testing started, probably at the old Texas World Speedway in College Station, Texas. They will also need to get the cars painted because, as Bruce said, “There are enough red Ferraris out there…I’m leaning towards yellow.” In another development, expect to see a track-side tie-in with an Italian clothing company, girls and possibly entertainment. A new Hazardous Racing-type experience? Hope so!

Bruce divulged that he has struggled for 15 years to bring his dream to fruition and has had many rejections and disappointments based on his skin color. ‘We just want to race, you know? There’s a large untapped market out there (the black fan) that only knows about Nascar. We want to educate them about road racing. We plan on doing radio show promotions before every race.” Also expect to see several famous celebrities and stars show up at the races in support of this new team.

This new outfit should be fun. Sure, they will have trials and tribulations like all new endeavors, but all in all, it will be fun to see the gleam in Bruce Miller’s eye (not to mention the grin on his face!). We look forward to seeing them at the races and wish them well.
Bob Brannon

 

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