Teammates Andrew Aquilante and Bret Spaude gave the Subaru Road Racing Team (SRRT) a front row start and achieved a third place finish Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The two-hour, 30-minute sprint race served as the third round of the 2012 GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Championship.
Spaude, of Bushnell, Fla., qualified the #35 SRRT WRX STI on the front row for the race comprising a massive 66-car starting grid encompassing two car classes, and kept his STI in the lead for 19 laps around the 2.3-mile combination NASCAR-style banked oval plus flat infield road course located just south of Miami, Fla.
On lap 30 of 82, Spaude handed off driving duties, while running in a comfortable 10th place, over to teammate Andrew Aquilante of Chester Springs, Pa., who brought the distinctive #35 Subaru to the checkered flag in 3rd place after making numerous exciting on-track maneuvers.
"The varying weather conditions throughout the race posed a challenge, but our car performed flawlessly all weekend plus our pit stop strategy proved to be the right one," said SRRT owner Joe Aquilante, principal of Phoenix Performance in Phoenixville, Pa., where the SRRT Subaru is prepped and maintained. "We can't wait for the next round which is our home race at Millville [in New Jersey]."
Added team driver Bret Spaude, "I enjoyed a great first stint and didn't feel much of any pressure [from the competitors] from behind in the wet [conditions]. Our STI really stuck well in the corners, and I was able to keep the lead right up to my first pit stop. After handing off the car to my teammate, AJ [Aquilante] picked up right where I left off and made some incredible passes to help us get onto the podium."
Aquilante and Spaude were among 67 cars entered in two classes in GRAND-AM Road Racing's largest participatory series.
"We're pleased to take away a podium finish from the Homestead round, and our team has been working hard in tapping the performance potential of our Subaru WRX STI," remarked James Han, motorsports marketing manager for Subaru of America, Inc. "Both Bret and Andrew put in some great drives under difficult and changing weather conditions while maneuvering through heavy traffic. We'll build on this result for our next race in two weeks."
The race-prepped #35 SRRT 4-door WRX STI is developed to compete against