Ryan Ellis came to APR Motorsport this year as a rookie driver in the CTSCC of GRAND-AM Road Racing with the hopes of a solid showing his first year out of the VW TDI Cup ladder series. Little did he realize he would take pole and win his first race, but then also win his second race a few weeks after. Co-driver Ian Baas led an incredible charge during his driving stint of the race to move from 6th into 1st and win by 22/1000th’s of a second. Ryan qualified 6th and expertly maintained the health of the GTI through one of the tightest fields in CTSSC ST class history.
Less than 1/10th of a second separated the top 5 qualifiers and the top 15 cars were all within a second of each other. Ryan relayed, “Obviously we knew a repeat win was going to be a tough challenge. Competition adjustments after the win at Daytona had the team scrambling to find competitive speed over the break between races. A few setup changes during practice really helped Ian and I find some of that lost speed. I am so happy with the level of competition in the CTSCC. APR Motorsport keeps giving us an awesome weapon that Ian and I plan to keep firing at the bull’s eye. Go APR!”
Ian Baas has been with APR Motorsport since the team’s inception and has seen many tough races and stiff competition over the years. Ian had to say about this weekend’s race, “Without a doubt one of the most memorable races of my career. APR has worked long and hard with minor setbacks and bad luck keeping us from completing a brilliant season. This year though, we all feel great. This is actually our third win a row if you look at last season’s win in the final round at Miller. The new GTI MK6 is a great improvement over the previous generation we’ve run in the past. I hope we can finally get our season together and this is a great start for a championship run!”
Chris and Kevin Gleason were able to successfully pilot the 181 GTI MK6 into 4th place. After a stop and go penalty, Kevin took over for Chris about mid way through. Both brothers did an excellent job of overcoming the penalty and getting the car back up front. As both GTI’s were charging for the podium late in the race, Chris cheered his brother Kevin on from the pits like only a brother can. “Go Kev! Get him Kev! Go, go, go!”, shouted Chris as Kevin attempted daring move after daring move to bring the 181 car to the podium. Miami was not the Gleason’s day for a podium but to be the only car in the field to stop twice and still achieve 4th is a true testament to the abilities of the Gleason brothers behind the wheel.
The PerfectPedal Audi S4 was in a great position during the first quarter of the race to vie for the podium but when two other GS competitors tangled up sending one of the cars into a spin, Gary Gibson was forced off track. While re-entering the track after successfully avoiding the incident, Gary was hit by another competitor who was caught up in the mix as well. Unfortunately, a control arm was damaged in the accident and the S4 had to go behind the wall for repairs, losing our lead lap position. Once the APR Motorsport team was able to make the repairs, the decision was made to put the S4 back on track so Gary could get some additional seat time.
Prior to the accident, Gary Gibson had moved the PerfectPedal Audi S4 just behind the group of lead cars in 15th position. “I was watching all of the bumps and rubs occurring in the lead group ahead of me and was biding my time, preparing for a top ten attack. I felt I was in a very comfortable position to keep the tires fresh and save some fuel until I began picking up the pace but unfortunately, bad luck happens. I know there is a podium in the S4 this year and Josh and I are ready for it”, said Gary Gibson about the race.
Catch APR’s win on SpeedTV March 19th at 2PM EST.
APR Motorsport’s next race is their Home Race at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, AL. The Barber 200 takes on place APRil 7-9 at one of the most beautiful road courses in the world. APR Motorsport went 1,2 in 2009 and debuted the GTI MK6 there last year.
About APR: APR LLC is an automotive engineering firm operating a 36,000 sq. ft. performance campus in Opelika, Ala. 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