Subaru Runs Strong in GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Opener

Phoenixville, PA. – Jan. 27, 2012 – Facing a 40-car field in the Grand Sport class of the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Championship racing series, Subaru Road Racing Team’s (SRRT) drivers ran as high as third place in their 4-door #35 Subaru WRX STI at the season-opening race held at the world-famous Daytona International Speedway.
Subaru driver Andrew Aquilante, Phoenixville, Pa., worked his way to the third spot and held the position from laps 36 through 38, but an on-track incident on the last lap of the race involving another Grand Sport class competitor knocked the team’s #35 Subaru out of the race and eventually classified in the 28th spot.
Teammate Bret Spaude, Bushnell, Fl.  qualified seventh fastest for the race, only one mph off the pole sitter’s qualifying speed. He raced the first 24 laps of the 58-lap, 2 ½-hour race on Daytona’s 3.56-mile combinational oval track and infield road course. The pair shared a race-prepped 2012 4-door Subaru WRX STI developed specifically to go against rival teams within a class in which cars customarily produce over 400 horsepower.
“Our Subaru’s performance in practice, qualifying and the race was solid and the preparation by the crew simply excellent.  We learned a bit during the practice days and applied them into this weekend,” said Joe Aquilante, principal of Phoenix Performance in Phoenixville, Pa., where SRRT makes its base operations.
“Brett qualified seventh fastest and was in fourth place at the end of the first lap. He did an excellent job in his 24 laps. Then, A.J. [Andrew] got up to third place on lap 38.  The last lap collision came while he was attempting a pass in the bustop [section of the race course], and a car ahead of him unexpectedly spun and contact was unavoidable.  Now that our car will be back at our race shop for two months before the next round, we’ll dig deeper and find those extra tenths of a second [per lap].”
Added James Han, motorsports marketing manager for Subaru of America, Inc., “Our final race result from Daytona [International Speedway] won’t accurately reflect the on-track performance from our STI and the polished teamwork displayed by SRRT, but our program shows great promise, and I’m looking forward to the upcoming rounds in the championship.”