Aquilante and Spaude “Storm” New Jersey Track, Subaru Team Wins on Home Turf.
– Subaru WRX STI Climbs From 45th to First in 45 Laps. –
Phoenixville, Pa. – May 14, 2012 – The Subaru Road Racing Team (SRRT) drivers Andrew Aquilante and Bret Spaude won round four of the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge (CTSCC) race on Saturday at New Jersey Motorsports Park near Millville, N.J.
Although the team qualified on the pole position, Aquilante, Spaude, and their race-prepared #35 Subaru WRX STI, had to charge through the field from 45th place on lap 31, after serving stop-and-go penalties.
Intent on making up for the lost track positions, Aquilante marched forward and took the race lead with nine laps to go; and eventually secured the win by a 2.224-second margin. It was the team’s second straight podium finish this season and their first Grand Sports class win in the Subaru WRX STI sedan.
“This win has been coming for a long time,” said Joe Aquilante, owner of Phoenix Performance in Phoenixville, Pa., which prepares the team’s Subaru race cars. “The Subaru excels on track configurations that reward superior handling qualities over outright top speed.”
Bret Spaude, of Bushnell, Fla., earned his first CTSCC series pole position with a 91.373mph lap of the 2.25-mile Thunderbolt Raceway configuration of the multi-faceted racetrack. Spaude dropped back to second place at the start and held that position, staying close to the bumper of Lawson Aschenbach’s race-leading car. On lap 25, Spaude pitted for gas, fresh tires, and turned the driving over to teammate Andrew “AJ” Aquilante.
A stop-and-go penalty plus an additional 30 seconds for accidental contact with a neighboring team’s spare tire on the way out of the pit box dropped the team to 45th place. Aquilante went on a determined charge; he was in fourth place by lap 56 when the team called him in for a final pit stop, dropping the Subaru Road Racing Team entry to 12th place after pit out.
On lap 70, Aquliante passed David Donohue for third place, drove by second place Eric Curran on lap 73, and took the race lead on lap 75 as he erased a quarter-second deficit to race leader Charles Espenlaub. Aquilante finished the 83rd and checkered flag lap with a 2.224-second margin over Espenlaub and the rest of the 23-car Grand Sports class, which was part of a 59-car, two-class field.
“I dug myself a hole, when I incurred those pit lane infractions, and just had to drive my way out of it,” Andrew Aquilante explained. “I know we have a great car, and when things like that happen, you just have to stay cool, put your head down and drive the wheels off. Our Subaru WRX STI was running strong all weekend, the handling was superb, and we know this track really well since it’s where we perform most of our on-track testing.”
“To finish on top in completely dry conditions and re-starting after serving our penalties truly shows the performance development from our Subaru WRX STI,” commented James Han, motorsports marketing manager for Subaru of America, Inc. “Our Subaru core technologies, including the Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, were firmly on display this weekend. Plus, securing the win in front of our fans at our home track of New Jersey Motorsports Park, where Subaru is the Official Automobile and Pace Car, made this result that much more special.”
The race-prepared #35 Subaru Road Racing Team WRX STI is developed to compete against rival teams fielding cars producing over 400-horsepower.