Daytona Beach FL, Jan. 23, 2009: In a very strong showing at the Koni Sports Car Challenge Fresh from Florida 200, the APR Motorsport drivers and team finished sixth and ninth in the Street Tuner class. The entire race was packed with fierce competition and looks to be a good indicator of the team’s strength in the season to come. Both of the APR Motorsport VW GTI’s ran flawlessly and maintained perfect balance throughout the entire 3 hour event.
Drivers Josh Hurley and Ian Baas brought the #171 Gunther Volkswagen GTI to the finish line in sixth after an eventful race. Starting third on the grid, reigning Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup Champion Josh Hurley was able to charge to the front of the pack and led for several laps before his first pitstop for fuel and a driver change. Bringing the car into pitlane, the Grand-Am officials issued a drive-through penalty for speeding. Due to the fact the APR Motorsport engineers developed a pitlane speed limiter for 2009 and had calibrated it, the team protested the penalty. Grand-Am officials were unwilling to reconsider and the penalty had to be served. Josh Hurley remarked, “The car was great for my entire stint. It is a shame we had that penalty, it cost us a podium for sure. ” Driver Ian Baas was then tasked with regaining the positions lost after serving the penalty. Driving from eighteenth position, Ian was able to charge to sixth place before a late-race caution halted the advancement and forced the race to end behind the safety car. After the race Ian said, “Josh did a fantastic job and handed me a perfect car. I was amazed at the straightline speed of the Civics. They are going to be strong competition this year.”
For the #181 VW GTI, drivers Patrick Barrett and Mike Sweeney were also set for a strong race. From the drop of the green flag, Mike Sweeney set about passing as many cars as possible. During his stint, Mike maintained the gap to the leaders, picking up several positions and keeping the car in pristine condition for his co-driver Patrick Barrett. Sweeney remarked, “I could see last year that we are going to get results. The team did a remarkable job in the offseason developing the cars. This is just the beginning.” Patrick Barrett, who raced in the Rolex GT series last year, again made steady progress eventually running as high as second. Once the final round of pitstops was complete, Patrick made several smart passes and unfortunately, like the #171 GTI, his charge to the front was thwarted by the late race caution. “We finished seven positions higher than at the start. If we didn’t have that caution, we would have finished much higher. The team worked perfectly and the car was great throughout the race. The competition in this class is intense!”
The APR Motorsport team next races at Homestead Miami Speedway March 13-15 for round two of the 2009 Koni Sports Car Challenge.
Keep up with the team at www.goapr.com. For more information about Gunther VW go to www.gunthervw.net