APR Motorsport has confirmed that Matt Bell and Ian Baas will drive their #52 Audi R8 at GRAND-AM’s first visit to the Circuit of Americas in Austin Texas.
Coming only one month after the team celebrated its runner-up finish in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, this event will also be the latest event for the team’s newest partner, Audi South Austin.
Bell first joined APR at the Rolex 24 and finished fifth in the team’s #51 R8. But he has the added bonus of being especially familiar with the R8, being an instructor at the Audi Sportscar Experience at Sonoma Raceway.
Bell said: “We definitely had some challenges at Daytona, but what I took away from that weekend was how strong [the team] is. 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 how Ian [Baas] and I do in Austin.”
Baas, meanwhile, has driven an R8 for APR before but only in the endurance races – this will be the first ‘regular’ race that he will drive for the team. His weekend will be doubly difficult as he will also drive one of the team’s VW Jettas in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge.
Baas said: “Going to the Circuit of Americas is almost as exciting as going to Daytona. We know how good the car is and after Daytona I can’t wait to get back in it after we just missed out on the win. I think we will contend for another podium.”
Baas will be partnered in his #171 CTSCC Jetta by Michael Taylor, while the #181 will be driven by Chris Lock and Aleks Altberg. Neither paring had a great weekend at Daytona and so will be looking to come back stronger in Austin.
Altberg said: “We had a perfect strategy and a great car at Daytona but, unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to finish it off.” His race ended early after an over-rev killed the engine.
Taylor said: “Daytona was great all weekend except for a somewhat disappointing finish.” His brakes faded late in the race, causing him to lose a number of positions. He added: “This time I’ll try to qualify up front and stay there so I can give the car to Ian [Baas] in a good position.”