APR Motorsport brings home important points from wild race at New Jersey Motorsports Park Millville, NJ: It was down to the wire in a race of fuel mileage and the APR Motorsport team came up just short at the finish. Both the ...
APR Motorsport brings home important points from wild race at New Jersey Motorsports Park
Millville, NJ: It was down to the wire in a race of fuel mileage and the APR Motorsport team came up just short at the finish. Both the #171 and #181 brought home important points toward the championship and maintained solid season points positions in 6th and 8th respectively. The cars were reliable all weekend and the team made progress in setup to remain competitive in the ST class.
The #181 APR VW GTI started the race in 7th position with Mike Sweeney advancing throughout the first stint. "We were driving the wheels off of the GTI's to go quickly. The level of competition in KONI is really the best in the country, it seems like we are always fighting with a dozen other cars! We worked hard on setup and by race time we had a great package." All of the hard work paid off as Sweeney was able to improve on his qualifying time by nearly a second. When codriver Aaron Povoledo took the wheel at the pitstop on lap 38, the car was in perfect shape to make a charge to the finish. Povoledo steadily advanced through traffic, eventually running in the top 5, before experiencing fuel starvation with 4 minutes remaining. The team brought the car in for a mere splash of fuel to get to the finish. Crew Chief Jeff Mishtawy said, "We knew we were going to be very close on fuel, this was a calculated risk. Had we stopped earlier for fuel we would have lost more positions. We still earned a top-ten finish and advanced in the points."
For Josh Hurley and Ian Baas in the #171 APR/Gunther VW GTI their 6th place on the starting grid was a solid position to make their way closer to the season championship. Hurley made a good start and maintained position in the top five for his time behind the wheel. Unfortunately, an electronic glitch with the car's engine computer during a full-course caution briefly left Hurley with no power. The result was a loss of several positions behind the pace car, quite an unusual occurrence.
"The balance of the car was coming to us but that glitch really hurt. We have been working very closely with Grand-Am on our restrictor with virtually no time to iron out all of the bugs in engine management caused by the restrictor. This was an instance where one of these issues cost us a top five finish and championship points" said Hurley. He continued, "The team gave me instructions over the radio on how to reset the engine computer and we were able to get the VW going again. It was so frustrating to watch the cars passing us while we were getting it reset." Ian Baas also ran in the top five during his stint but, like the #181, had a very tight fuel window. "We still finished in the points and although we lost a few of them today, we are still very much alive in the championship hunt. Some cars have a huge advantage right now and I am sure Grand-Am is going to level the playing field"
APR Motorsport will return to action for round 4 of the KONI Sports Car Challenge at the famous Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on May 14-15 2009.