APR Motorsport press release
Norman and von Moltke enjoy strong run at APR Motorsport's home track at Barber Motorsports Park
April 2, 2012 (Birmingham, Ala.) - With Dr. Jim Norman and Dion von Moltke at the helm of the no. 51 APR Audi R8 Grand-Am, APR Motorsport - from nearby Opelika, Ala. - put on a strong show in front of its home crowd at Barber Motorsports Park on Saturday afternoon and narrowly missed the team's first top-ten in Rolex Series GT action. At the end of the two hour and forty-five minute race, von Moltke took the checkered flag in 11th place.
When von Moltke's qualifying run to seventh was disallowed because of a ride-height infringement - a bolt on the Audi R8 Grand-Am's front splitter was too low - the team started from the back of the GT field with Norman at the wheel. From shotgun on the field, Norman made up six positions before turning the car over to von Moltke. The team went on an alternate strategy to the leaders, pitting for splashes of fuel during the early caution periods of the race. By extending the pit stop window, the team would be in great shape for the end of the race.
In the middle part of the race, von Moltke was able to stay on track longer than the bulk of the GT field, getting the no. 51 APR Audi R8 Grand-Am as high as second during pitstops. After the APR Motorsport team executed a perfect pitstop with under 45 minutes remaining, von Moltke was back in the hunt and thrust into a battle with the Marsh Racing Corvette of Eric Curran. However, a full course caution period with under ten minutes remaining negated von Moltke's fuel advantage. A frantic restart with only minutes remaining saw von Moltke get past Curran for good when the Corvette slipped off course, putting him in eleventh at the finish.
"It's clear to see the progression of the Audi R8 from Daytona to now," said von Moltke. "On new tires and over a single lap, we are just as fast as any other car out there. But Barber is so hard on tires, and you lose so much grip when they fall off, that you really need to be patient. It's the same for everyone. Our car was great over a stint at Daytona, but we have definitely found more speed. We enjoyed a bit of a home town advantage here and had a great time with all of our supporters who came to cheer for us, and thanks to Parathyroid.com, PR Newswire, and South Africa Airways for their support."
The abrasive surface of the Barber circuit also posed a challenge for Norman, who drove a strong opening stint in the no. 51 APR Audi R8.
"We had a solid weekend, and we learned a lot about our Audi," said Norman. "The car is great on new tires, but Barber is extremely tough on tires and you must be extremely patient to save them - especially the rears. After twenty laps they fall way off. But thanks to the team, the car was great and we showed we can be competitive." Team owner Stephen Hooks was thrilled to see the Audi perform well in front of the hometown crowd.
"To have a strong result here at our home track, with Dr. Jim and Dion battling all day long, putting on a show in front of all of our friends, family, and staff is a great feeling," said Hooks. "Everyone has worked very hard since Daytona and it is great to have progress and get a good result. We will take what we learned here and build some momentum for Homestead. We aren't where we want to be yet, but we are getting there."