- The VW DriverGear GTI MK6’s Present a Strong Showing Qualifying 3rd and 4th in the ST Class While the Audi S4 Suffers a Braking Failure 3 Laps Into Qualifying After Good Practice Sessions
The behind the scenes trials and tribulations every race team experiences very rarely make it into public view in the world of motorsport but two completely unique situations occurred just before and during APR Motorsport’s qualifying session that simply must be shared. Understanding of how awesome it was for Chris Gleason, Jr to be able to secure 3rd in his #181 VW DriverGear GTI MK6 during qualifying can only be relayed by those present and working on the car. For the Audi S4 in the GS Class, the tale to be told is not one of great results but more of great disappointment. Fortunately, for Ryan Ellis and Ian Baas, Championship Points Leaders, in the #171 VW DriverGear GTI MK6 qualifying 4th was a smooth and almost seemingly routine event.
Chris Gleason, Jr spent the most time behind the wheel of the #181 GTI during practice and until the last session, things were going quite well. Kevin Gleason, Chris’ co-driver, felt comfortable with only a few practice laps as Chris would be qualifying. During the last practice session of the day, Chris began to experience issues with the GTI MK6 maintaining power and eventually even its ability to stay running. In desperation, with thoughts of the entire weekend slipping away, Chris was able to get the VW DriverGear GTI back to the pits despite the issues only to find the car unable to restart.
Electrical malfunctions are often times the greatest fear of the Car Chief and his team. Diagnosing issues in an electrical controller, which there are several of in modern production based race cars, can be time consuming and a bit unclear as to which direction to take next. Most motorsport technicians will take a blown engine any day over a no start condition due to an electrical fault. However, in this case, the APR Motorsport team was able to quickly repair Chris and Kevin’s car in the short time available prior to qualifying thanks to an often unfound expertise regarding the electronics of the car. While most onlookers in the paddock shook their heads fearing the worst, the APR Motorsport team realized it was time for business and replaced, recoded and adapted the car’s ECU along with other electrical controllers in short order and the problem was solved. Chris rewarded their efforts by driving to his best qualifying position to date in P3 which puts APR Motorsport in a great position to vie for the win in tomorrow’s race. Motorsport is truly a team effort.
Ryan Ellis and Ian Baas set some of the best times in the practice sessions leading up to qualifying and Ryan drove to a comfortable P4 completing a side by side start for APR Motorsport on the second row in tomorrow’s Bosch Engineering 200. Even with a tough weather forecast of scattered showers keeping the strategists on their toes regarding tire choice, Ryan feels very confident, “The VW DriverGear GTI MK6 has simply been incredibly consistent throughout the season. Ian and I are able to deliver another day at the office despite the changing locales and unique challenges brought by each new track. I can’t imagine a more competent car in this series and am thankful for the great car APR’s team provides to us time and time again.”
For Gary Gibson and Josh Hurley, drivers of the Audi S4 in the GS class, the day was filled with ups and downs ultimately resulting in early retirement after only 3 laps in qualifying. The troubles began Thursday during practice where an off track excursion resulted in heavy damage to the front of the car. The S4 Car Chief and his team made an incredible effort to repair the car for Friday’s practice and qualifying. Despite the heroic effort and copious amounts of race tape, fresh out of the box brake rotors both cracked only 3 laps into qualifying. Gary was forced to bring the S4 into the pits resulting in a start at the back of the pack on race day. Gary relayed, “With our recent adjustments to the rules package and the good pace of practice session 2 I felt really good going into qualifying. The team did an amazing job repairing the front end but fate was not on our side today. To see rotors fail so quickly is mind boggling but as they say, I guess that’s racing. Josh and I both are looking forward to a long, tough battle as we move up towards the podium in tomorrow’s race.”
Expect an action packed and exciting Bosch Engineering 200 at VIR as the VW DriverGear GTI MK6’s look to widen their gap in the Championship race in ST and the Audi S4 still looks for the top ten finish everyone around it knows is there. Catch all of the action with live updates from the APR Motorsport PR team at www.facebook.com/pages/APR-LLC/75900685355, www.GoAPR.com and www.twitter.com/goapr.
About APR: APR LLC is an automotive engineering firm operating a 36,000 sq. ft. performance campus in Opelika, AL. APR was founded in 1997 with a corporate philosophy of Integrity, Excellence and Innovation. APR’s Sole Mission is to provide the highest quality and most highly engineered aftermarket performance products available for Porsche, Audi and Volkswagen vehicles. Learn more at www.goapr.com.