One month after celebrating its runner-up finish in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, APR Motorsport is heading to GRAND-AM’s first visit to the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas with the driving duo of Matt Bell and Ian Baas in the no. 52 APR Audi R8. Joining both of them is APR Motorsport’s newest partner, Audi South Austin.
Bell joined APR for the first time at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, finishing 12 in the no. 51 APR Audi R8. As an instructor at the Audi Sportscar Experience at Sonoma Raceway, Bell is certainly familiar with Audi R8’s and is happy to become more familiar with the APR Audi R8.
“We definitely had some challenges at Daytona, but what I took away from that weekend was how strong the APR Motorsport program is,” said Bell. “Top to bottom it is full of great people with a great family atmosphere. I’m excited to see how Ian and I do in Austin. The Audi R8 is a great car to drive and we all got a glimpse of how far it has come, and I’m excited to see what we can do in Austin.”
Baas has driven APR’s Audi R8 in the endurance races, and this will be the first ‘regular’ race in which he pilots the car. Baas will do double-duty again this weekend as he will drive an APR VW Jetta in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge.
“Going to the Circuit of the Americas in the Audi is almost as exciting as going to Daytona for the 24 Hour,” said Baas. “We know how good the car is and after Daytona I can’t wait to get back into an Audi R8 after we just missed out on the win. Matt did a great job in Daytona and fit right in with the rest of the guys. I think we’re going to get along well and contend for another podium.”
APR’s CTSCC program will see Chris Lock join Aleks Altberg in the no. 181 APR VW Jetta GLI, while Baas will continue with South African rookie Michael Taylor in the no. 171 APR VW Jetta GLI. Altberg’s race ended with a DNF in Daytona after an over-rev, while Taylor and Baas ran from the back of the field to well within the top-10 before brake failure caused him to lose positions in the race’s final two races.
“We had a perfect strategy and a great car at Daytona but, unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to finish it off,” said Altberg. “So now we’ll just go to Circuit of the Americas, do everything the same way we did in Daytona, and hope for a better result. It will be my first time racing with Chris but I’m sure he’ll fit right in and be very quick.”
Taylor, who recently starred in APR Motorsport’s ‘Harlem Shake’ video, is also looking for a strong race after his car faded in the final stages at Daytona with brake problems.
“Daytona was great all weekend except for a somewhat disappointing finish,” said Taylor. “The car was fast all weekend but we just used it up too much coming through the field. This time I’ll try to qualify up front and stay there so I can give the car to Ian in a good position.”
The GRAND-AM of The Americas presented by GAINSCO and TOTAL Rolex Sports Car Series race will be shown live on SPEED Channel on Saturday, March 2 at 5:30 PM ET on SPEED Channel. The CTSCC race will be shown live on SPEED2.com on Saturday, March 2 at 10:05 AM ET, with a television broadcast on Sunday, March 9 at 4:00 PM ET.
- Efrain Olivares | APR Motorsports