Photos & Words: Mike Juergens
APR scored their first podium finish with their brand-new Audi R8 Grand-Am on Saturday. The P2 finish was the highest for the new R8. The only prior top-10 finish for the No. 51 APR Motorsports Audi was ninth at Montreal. Dion von Moltke brought the car home safely after several contacts with other GT cars in a very hard fought finale. Dion and his co-driver Dr. Jim Norman were able to fight their way back from 16th place in an impressive 2nd place finish after an accident during qualifying forced them to start at the rear.
During the last 20-minutes of the race APR was able to push their R8 to the limit forcing the P1 and P2 place teams to do the same. This tactic forced the #44 Magnus Racing Porsche to stop for fuel on the last lap dropping them from P1 to P6 and allowing the APR Audi to move into P2. The R8 turned out to be very fuel efficient and the teams pit stop strategy paid off greatly.
“APR did an amazing job developing this car. It seemed we never had the same car twice. The teamwork on the pit stop got me close to the front, and I was able to keep it there. I would have liked to have given Dr. Jim a victory, but a podium is the next best thing.” Dion von Moltke, No. 51 APR Motorsport Audi R8 GRAND-AM
APR has worked closely with Audi Sport Customer Racing and Grand-Am officials over the past season to help formulate a plan to help make the R8 competitive in the Rolex Series GT class. Most recently they were able to move to a single piece wheels and carbon fiber doors to help reduce weight. Also, they were able to open the rear diffuser to produce more down force. Saturday all of the hard work paid off.
The APR R8 is the lightest of the LMS series cars currently racing. However, it’s also the most unique R8 LMS and this was a big challenge for everybody involved. Due to the different aero setup on the Audi R8 Grand-Am many parts reacted differently than it’s European counter parts. Forcing some changes to the car to compensate. It was an incredibly valuable first season and we are expecting great things for 2013 when the Season kicks-off January 27th during the 24-Hours of Daytona.
APR’s Saturday P2 finish was also historic. As it was the first podium for an Audi in North America since Hans-Joachim Stuck piloted his #4 Audi of America 1989 IMSA Audi 90 quattro GTO to victory 23-years ago.
- Dion von Moltke 14th overall with 241 points
- Jim Norman 17th overall with 200 points
- APR Motorsport 12th overall with 209 points
- APR Motorsport LTD UK 28th overall with 32 points
- Audi 6th overall with 248 points
A special thanks to APR Motorsports for their hospitality this weekend and also BorrowLenses.com for providing the camera equipment that made these photos possible.