APR Motorsports have announced that not one but two cars will be competing at the Six Hours of Glen GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Endurance events. The second Audi R8 GRAND-AM which will be seen at Watkins Glenn will be driven by Marc Basseng and Frank Stippler at No.52 while its counterpart will be in No.51 as they tackle the second longest race in the series.
Having not one but two cars has its own set of advantages as stated by Brad Kettler, Director of Operations for Audi Sports, USA. He stated that the two teams can share information while dividing responsibility. There is also the possibility of trying out two sets of strategies during the races. The two racers Basseng and Stippler will be piloting the Audi No.2 vehicle. Stippler is a factory development driver at Audi and is well versed in the handling of Audi R8 GRAND-AM as he was instrumental in testing the vehicle at Daytona International Speedway, while he was also successful at the 2012 Nurburgring 24 Hours events in an Audi R8 LMS.
Basseng too has an impressive track record. In 2011 he won at the 12 Hours of Bathurst in an Audi R8 LMS with Stippler as his teammate.
News release: New development for the Audi R8 GRAND-AM at the Six Hours of the Glen
• APR Motorsport announces second Audi R8 GRAND-AM to compete at Watkins Glenn
• Marc Basseng and Frank Stippler to pilot the new #52 Audi R8 GRAND-AM
• Expanded Driver lineup for #51 APR Motorsport race car
A second APR Motorsport Audi R8 GRAND-AM will compete at Six Hours at the Glen GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car endurance classic. The #52 race car will join its sister car, #51, as they continue to find improvements and strategic advantages for the second longest race on the series schedule.
“There are strategic benefits to fielding two cars. Anytime you have a two car team you can split responsibilities and share information,” commented Brad Kettler, Director of Operations for Audi Sport customer racing, USA. “It also allows you to try different set ups and prepare two different race strategies during the race.”
Piloting the #52 APR Motorsport Audi R8 GRAND-AM are Marc Basseng and Frank Stippler. Stippler, a factory development driver for Audi Sport, was heavily involved in the Audi R8 GRAND-AM testing at Daytona International Speedway. His most recent accomplishment includes winning the 2012 Nurburgring 24 Hours race in an Audi R8 LMS ultra.
“For me, this will be a weekend full of premieres,” said Stippler. “For the first time, I will be a part of APR Motorsport. For the first time, I will race the Audi R8 GRAND-AM. And, I will get my first taste of Watkins Glen. As I am a traditionalist, I love old-style tracks. There are drivers who use a simulator to adapt to new tracks. I prefer to arrive a bit sooner, walk over the track and learn everything by heart. After having been involved in the development process of the R8 GRAND-AM, it is great to race it now. GRAND-AM is pretty new to me as well. I have tackled the 2008 Rolex 24 at Daytona, but apart from that race, I don’t know the series. I think we can expect a high class starting grid and an exciting race.”
The second pilot for the #52 car is Marc Basseng. Basseng competed in GRAND-AM and recorded an impressive GT class win at the 2007 Rolex 24 at Daytona. In 2011, he posted a notable win in an Audi R8 LMS in the 12 Hours of Bathurst and was Stippler’s teammate in the Audi R8 LMS ultra during the 2012 24 Hours of Nurburgring victory. Basseng’s return to GRAND-AM will hopefully provide impressive results and valuable data for the Audi R8 GRAND-AM.
“I am eagerly anticipating my return to GRAND-AM with APR Motorsport,” said Basseng. “GRAND-AM is a first-class racing series with attractive events, fascinating cars and many well-known drivers. I know the Audi R8 LMS very well, not least because we have won the Nurburgring 24 Hours with it recently. But it will be the first time that I tackle an event in the Audi R8 GRAND-AM. My teammate Frank Stippler has done the development and testing with the car. I harbor great memories of Watkins Glen. I have raced there in GRAND-AM back in 2008. It is a track steeped in tradition. The circuit is embedded perfectly into the surroundings. In the very first part, there is a fast right-left-right corner that is really exciting. All in all, it is a very demanding track. I am sure we will enjoy an entertaining weekend.”
Another former Rolex 24 at Daytona GT class winner, Ian Baas, will join the #51 Audi R8 GRAND-AM driver lineup at the Glen. Baas also has racing experience in the Audi R8 GRAND-AM as an APR Motorsport driver at the 2012 Rolex 24 at Daytona. Along with Dr. Jim Norman and Dion von Moltke, Baas will round out the team driving responsibilities during the endurance race and add new insight to the Audi R8 GRAND-AM improvements approved by GRAND-AM since competing at Daytona.
“While we have been making steady progress with the R8, the chance to have a second car with Marc and Frank driving was something we didn’t want to pass up,” said Jeff Mishtawy, Director of Competition for APR Motorsport. “In addition to being proven, fast drivers, Marc and Frank have a deep understanding of the R8 and will help us to elevate the program. Working with Emanuele at Daytona was great as he brought a lot of experience to our new program, and we are looking forward to learning from Marc and Frank as well.”