APR Motorsport will enter two VW’s in the Touring Class at this weekend’s Cadillac Mid-Ohio Grand Prix presented by Stoptech. The team last competed in the Pirelli World Challenge at last season’s series finale at Road Atlanta where Josh Hurley finished second in Touring Car. But to race this weekend they will need a pair of drivers, and the team has secured the services of the two best drivers that weren’t doing anything else.
Finding the best Mexican they could, the team will have Alex Popow drive the no. 94 APR VW GTI this weekend. This will be Popow’s first Pirelli World Challenge start. Popow finished second overall at this year’s 24 Hours of Daytona, and was a class winner at the 12 Hours of Sebring. He currently leads the American Le Mans Series LMPC class championship, and last weekend co-drove to victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the Daytona Prototype class.
“I’m not Mexican, I’m from Venezuela,” said Popow. “It’s a completely different country. It’s not even on the same continent. There’s a giant Venezuela sticker on the car! But whatever, I’m excited to drive with APR Motorsport at Mid-Ohio. I have driven with them for a few events in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge and this new challenge in World Challenge has me really excited. It has been a few seasons since I’ve done a sprint race and a standing start so this should be a lot of fun.”
Going European for their second driver, the team has selected redhead Ian Baas, from Ireland (probably) to drive the no. 49 APR VW GTI. Baas has several previous starts in World Challenge competition, where he raced throughout the 2006 and 2007 seasons in a Audi A4 in the Touring Class. Baas has also scored several victories in the Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge – as well as a class win at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
“Actually, I was born in Indianapolis, and I’ve lived here my whole life,” said Baas. “But my ancestry is German, Dutch, and Irish, so you were close. And my last name means ‘Boss’. No matter, we are really excited to get back into World Challenge after we did a couple of races last season. Sprint races are really fun and with the mixed classes in World Challenge, it’s a real challenge for the drivers in the Touring Class. Our APR VW will be up to the challenge.”
The one-week turnaround between Indianapolis and Mid-Ohio presents a challenge for the team, but APR Motorsport’s Director of Motorsport, Jeff Mishtawy, is anxious to see the team’s VW’s in action in the Pirelli World Challenge.
“We’ve kept an eye on things in World Challenge and this race presented a good opportunity to come back for another shot,” said Mishtawy. “The VW’s are a strong package in World Challenge right now so we want to see what our cars, which ordinarily race for two and a half hours, can do in a sprint race format. Alex and Ian should have a lot of fun mixing it up this weekend.”
The doubleheader begins with the first race on Saturday, August 4th at 5:10 PM ET. The second race will be run Sunday morning, at 9:55 AM ET. Both races will be shown live on www.world-challengeTV.com, with a television broadcast on NBC Sports on August 25th at 1:30 PM ET.
- APR Motorsport