APR Motorsport's Audi R8 Grand-Am Slows After Strong Start at Grand Prix of Miami
Norman and von Moltke Encounter Teething Problems in Rain-Shortened Race
April 30, 2012 (Homestead, Fla.) - Despite the certainty of rain at the Grand Prix of Miami, the third round of the 2012 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series, Dr. Jim Norman and Dion von Moltke, drivers of the no. 51 APR Audi R8 Grand-Am, were excited to race. While Audi's Quattro system would have been immensely useful in the rainy conditions, von Moltke wheeled the two-wheel-drive R8 Grand-Am to the third quickest time in the final practice session, which was held in the rain.
Von Moltke was tasked with starting the race, taking a combined green/yellow flag to start the race as the field circulated slowly in the heavy rain. When the race did go green, von Moltke moved from his starting position of twelfth as high as seventh, running times on pace with the leading GT cars. During the second of two full course caution periods that were thrown when the conditions got worse, the team pitted the car and put Norman in.
As the race returned to green, Norman began to suffer from a lack of power caused when the computer running the 5.2 liter V10 engine began to go into limp mode. Resetting the Audi's ECU would temporarily cure the problem, and Norman continued to post strong lap times despite having to perform multiple resets per lap. However, the situation gradually worsened and Norman was forced to pit under green flag conditions. Ultimately, the car would lose two laps to the GT leaders.
Von Moltke would get back in the car but the problems persisted, leaving the no. 51 APR Audi R8 Grand-Am in seventeenth position when the race was called 50 minutes early due to the conditions.
"The conditions were really, really bad, but if the car hadn't been breaking up we would have had a really good result," said Norman. "As bad as the conditions were, the car was actually very good in the rain. I enjoy racing here but I've never seen rain like that. We'll regroup with the APR crew and be ready for the next race in New Jersey."
Von Moltke, who passed several cars in the opening stint, was also disappointed that the team's car encountered problems in the wet race.
"I was having a blast out there, the Audi R8 Grand-Am was really good in the rain," said von Moltke. "But this was the first time we've run the car in conditions like that and we encountered a problem that we would never have encountered unless we were in such heavy rain. But the APR guys always do a phenomenal job and I'm really thankful for their support and we know the car will be strong in New Jersey. Thanks to them, Parathyroid.com, PR Newswire, and South African Airways we still had a great weekend."