Madison Snow grew up around racing and has established himself as one of the fastest drivers in IMSA behind the wheel of a GT3 car. He and co-driver Bryan Sellers won the IMSA GTD Sprint Cup championship with Paul Miller Racing in their first year of competition with the M4 GT3 in 2022 and are currently leading the overall GTD class championship. Before they partnered with BMW, the team won the GTD class championship with Lamborghini in 2018 and the Endurance Cup championship in 2021. We caught up with Madison at the Watkins Glen round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship, where they would finish second.
BimmerLife: How did you get started in racing?
Madison Snow: Some families teach their kids how to play soccer or basketball, but for me it was racing cars. Both my parents raced. Once I was old enough to reach the pedals and drive a go-kart, that was what I did. Once I got a little older, my dad got me a Mazda Miata, so I did some racing in that locally at Miller Motorsports Park [in Utah]. The Porsche Pirelli Cup came to Miller and they wanted my Dad to race, but he asked them if I could race instead and I was only fifteen at the time. I had a local club license, so they let me run in that. I raced Porsches for quite a while in IMSA GT3 Cup.
BL: How did your relationship with Paul Miller Racing start?
MS: My first year of racing with Paul Miller was in 2016 [with a Lamborghini] and I was pretty lucky that it happened the way it did. I was looking for somewhere to race and had been mostly racing Porsches at that point and Bryan Sellers had been driving for Falken Motorsports, but that program had just ended. Paul Miller Racing was looking for new drivers because Bryce Miller was stepping away, and they were looking at starting fresh and seeing who was available. They had a test at Road Atlanta to not just see if you were fast, but to see if you fit in with the team. That’s one of the reasons why Paul Miller Racing has been such a good team. You don’t just show up and be the fastest driver–there’s a lot more depth here and we want to have a good time together. Everyone performs better when it’s in a good environment.
BL: How was it transitioning from the rear-engined Porsche to the mid-engined Lamborghini in your first season with Paul Miller Racing in 2016?
MS: That feels like a long time ago, but I’d say the cars changed dramatically between 2015 and 2016. When I drove the Lamborghini in 2016 it had ABS and traction control. That was the year all the GT3 cars came out with those features. Prior to that, none of the cars had it. Porsche came out with a new GT3 car that year too, so it wasn’t so much a big change going from one car to the other as it was just making a big step up into that level of racing. I had never really had a full season up to that point and Paul Miller Racing was a well-known team in the paddock and I knew we would be fighting for podiums and championships.
BL: After all the success that Paul Miller had with Lamborghini, were you surprised when they switched to BMW with the M4 GT3 in 2022?
MS: Not surprised. We had a good relationship with Lamborghini, but we were looking for something new and looking for a change. We had learned a lot with the Lamborghini, and we weren’t sure where else to go with it. We ran out of trying things to go faster with that car, so we wanted a new challenge. We looked at the different manufacturers, and the BMW was there with a new car that was available, so we ended up going with them.
BL: Were you surprised at how competitive the M4 GT3 was right out of the box, with winning in just your second race in the car?
MS: We didn’t get the car in time for the Rolex 24 at Daytona in 2022 and that was kind of a good thing to be honest. The last couple of years before that, we had been fighting for championships and that gets stressful. You’re racing to win championships, but it’s always stressful to be racing at that high of a level. Missing Daytona sucked, but the good side was that we knew we wouldn’t be going for the full season championship and we could just spend the season learning the new car. It was perfect. We showed well at Sebring until we were taken out, and then Long Beach happened. Long Beach was really special because we had won that race in 2021 in the Lamborghini, and then we won it again with the BMW. We showed that we could switch manufacturers and were just as good as we were before, and that’s difficult to do.
BL: Did you have to change your driving style at all to go from the mid-engined Lamborghini to the front-engined BMW?
MS: It’s definitely a different car to drive. I have been with Bryan [Sellers] since 2016 so he was a great person to talk to about that and help each other out. I remember at Sebring we were doing a test, and we were talking about going through turn one and how the car felt and handled. Turn one is a high-speed corner at Sebring, and it was kind of interesting because you could get the BMW loose mid-corner, but nothing would happen. If you got the Lamborghini loose mid-corner at turn one there it was really sketchy, and you never wanted to do that again. We worked on learning those advantages of a front-engined car and where it’s better. The M4 GT3 is very stable and is much more recoverable than some of the other cars.
BL: What areas still need improvement with the M4 GT3?
MS: We’re struggling with understeer right now and are trying to make that better. Understeer is something that makes a car easier to drive–there’s less chance of spinning off the track, but you also don’t want too much understeer. It has too much understeer in long-duration corners. That being said, the car is comfortable and easy to drive. The understeer is one of the long-term issues that we have to slowly get better on.
BL: Do you have a favorite segment of the track here at Watkins Glen that you like to drive?
MS: I think it speaks to how good Watkins Glen is that I don’t have a favorite section. The whole track flows together really nicely.
BL: What would you be doing if you weren’t a race car driver?
MS: I like things with motors. My dad owns a steel fabrication company, so I work there, and we’re also pretty big into the off-road stuff now. I have a Jeep but it has 40” tires, a coil-over suspension and an LS3 motor.
[Car photos by David Haueter, podium photos courtesy LAT Images]