Ian Baas will also join Dr. Jim Norman and Dion von Moltke in team's no. 51 Audi R8
June 21, 2012 (Opelika, Ala.) - Bolstering it's entry for the upcoming Sahlen's Six Hours at the Glen, APR Motorsport has announced that the team will field a second Audi R8 GRAND-AM for the annual six-hour classic.
The no. 52 APR Audi R8 GRAND-AM will join the team's stable, with drivers Marc Basseng and Frank Stippler piloting the car. Stippler, from Bad Munstereifel, Germany, drove the Audi Sport Test Car - dubbed the 'Captain America' car - during the Roar Before the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway. Stippler has been a Factory Development Driver for the Audi R8 LMS since 2008.
"For me, this will be a weekend full of premieres," said Stippler. "For the first time, I will be a part of APR Motorsport. For the first time, I will race the Audi R8 GRAND-AM. And, I will get my first taste of Watkins Glen. As I am a traditionalist, I love old-style tracks. I am excited to get to know this circuit which even used to be an F1 venue in the past. There are drivers who use a simulator to adapt to new tracks. I prefer to arrive a bit sooner, walk over the track and learn everything by heart. After having been involved in the development process of the R8 GRAND-AM, it is great to race it now. GRAND-AM is pretty new to me as well. I have tackled the 2008 Rolex 24 at Daytona, but apart from that race, I don't know the series. I think we can expect a high class starting grid and an exciting race."
Basseng, from Neusalza, Germany, has spent the last three seasons competing in the competitive GT1 World Championship, in which he scored three wins in 2011 driving a Lamborghini. Last season, behind the wheel of an Audi R8 LMS, he drove to victory in the 12 Hours of Bathurst and to a class win in the 24 Hours of Nurburgring. Basseng has one win in the 2007 Rolex 24 at Daytona in the GT class.
"I am eagerly anticipating my return to GRAND-AM with APR Motorsport," said Basseng. "GRAND-AM is a first-class racing series with attractive events, fascinating cars and many well-known drivers. I know the Audi R8 LMS very well, not least because we have won the Nurburgring 24 Hours with it recently. But it will be the first time that I tackle an event in the Audi R8 GRAND-AM . My teammate Frank Stippler has done the development and testing with the car. I harbor great memories of Watkins Glen. I have raced there in GRAND-AM back in 2008. It is a track steeped in tradition. The circuit is embedded perfectly into the surroundings. In the very first part, there is a fast right-left-right corner that is really exciting. All in all, it is a very demanding track. I am sure we will enjoy an entertaining weekend."
In addition, former Rolex 24 at Daytona winner Ian Baas will join Dr. Jim Norman and Dion von Moltke in the team's no. 51 APR Audi R8. Baas drove the same car at this year's Rolex 24 at Daytona, joining Norman, von Moltke, and five-time winner of the 24 Hours of LeMans, Emmanuelle Pirro.
The event will also mark the first time that the team campaigns two cars in the Rolex Series' GT class. The team has campaigned a multi-car effort in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge series since 2007, and currently races five cars in the series.
"While we have been making steady progress with our Audi, the chance to have a second car with Marc and Frank driving was something we didn't want to pass up," said Jeff Mishtawy, Director of Competition for APR Motorsport. "In addition to being proven, fast drivers, Marc and Frank have a deep understanding of the R8 and will help us to elevate the program. Working with Emmanuelle at Daytona was great as he brought a lot of experience to our new program, and we are looking forward to learning from Marc and Frank as well."
For APR Motorsport owner Stephen Hooks, campaigning two cars in the Rolex Series GT class represents another milestone for his team, which started in GRAND-AM with a three-car effort in the CTSCC in 2008.
"It's a great feeling to be running two cars with involvement from Audi Sport and with two of their factory drivers at Watkins Glen next weekend," said Hooks. "We've enjoyed our relationship with Audi as their official launch partner for the GRAND-AM program. With the second round of the North American Endurance Championship, all the partners decided it would be a great time to apply the lessons we've learned and bring all the weapons to the table and see what kind of result we can get."