VIR: Ian Baas preview

Baas Optimistic Heading Into Saturday's Rolex Series GT Race at VIR NOBLESVILLE, Ind., April 26 - Ian Baas returns to VIRginia International Raceway in Alton, Va., this weekend for Saturday's Rolex Series GT race. The Noblesville, Ind.-based ...

Baas Optimistic Heading Into Saturday's Rolex Series GT Race at VIR

NOBLESVILLE, Ind., April 26 - Ian Baas returns to VIRginia International Raceway in Alton, Va., this weekend for Saturday's Rolex Series GT race. The Noblesville, Ind.-based driver recorded a podium finish in this event last year, and he recently recorded laps in testing there that were under the track record for the class.

Baas, 24, placed third in last year's race at VIR in the TPC Racing Porsche, co-driving with Randy Pobst. His 2006 Rolex 24 victory also came in that car.

This year he's driving the At Speed Motorsports Porsche. Team owner Bob Miller has arranged for current IMSA Lites L2 point leader Mark White of Madison, Wis., to join Baas behind the wheel for this race. Everyone on the team will do their best to bring home a good finish for the team's sponsors, Celette and Ian Global Shipping. Baas is also affiliated with APR, a top automotive high-performance aftermarket engineering firm in Auburn, Ala., that specializes in Audi, Porsche and VW vehicles.

If the At Speed Motorsports Porsche GT3 Cup No. 28 handles as well and runs as fast at VIR as it did at Homestead-Miami Speedway in March, it should be a contender. Baas was flying through the field and had the car up to fifth at Homestead before mechanical gremlins hit. If the car can have a trouble-free run at VIR, the team should be in great shape at the checkered.

This year the GT cars are running in a separate race on VIR's 3.27-mile road course on Saturday. The Daytona Prototypes will have their own race on Sunday. Since the different speeds of the two classes can contribute to accidents, running separate races should cut down on the number of yellows in both events.

The distance for Saturday's GT race will be 77 laps or two and a half hours.

Testing is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon, with the first official practice session for the GT cars at 10:30 Saturday morning. Qualifying follows at 2:20 p.m. There will be live timing and scoring all weekend at grand-am.com, joined by a live audio broadcast in English and Spanish when the race starts at 4:30 p.m. It will be shown on a same-day, tape-delayed basis at 8:30 p.m. on SPEED. All times are Eastern.

On Monday morning Baas will be back in school; not for classes, but as part of his duties as a national spokesperson for the Think First National Injury Prevention Foundation. The not-for-profit group stresses education to prevent head and spinal cord injuries.

Baas is scheduled to speak at the McClelland Elementary School in Indianapolis on Monday morning. He'll show the students his helmet and safety gear to stress that using safety items like seat belts and bicycle helmets is not only important, but cool. The Think First Foundation has found that young drivers like Baas are very effective in delivering their message to "think first about safety" to youngsters who look up to them.

-credit: ianbaasracing.com.

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Mark White , Randy Pobst , Ian Baas