On April 24, warm, sunny weather greeted the Subaru Road Racing Team (SRRT) at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the third round of the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge (CTSCC) season.
Through two days of practice, the #35 Subaru WRX STI ran strongly each session, consistently putting out top-five times. Even some mechanical issues couldn’t keep this team back; they were ready for battle.
Out for the qualifying session, Bret Spaude turned his quickest laps of the weekend. At the end of the 15-minute session, the Bushnell, Florida, native had posted the second fastest qualifying time, placing the blue #35 on the front row for start of the race.
After tech inspection, the #35 team was awarded the pole position, and Spaude walked away with the CTSCC Grand Sport class qualifying record.
Race day began with overcast skies for the final practice session. The team pulled out of the session early, that day’s sign that the Subaru was perfect – and ready to rumble!
A few hours before the scheduled start, the rain began. A heavy downpour soaked everything and everyone. As #35 took the green flag, the rain still sputtered down, but the wet track worked for Spaude as he opened up a lead over the competitors.
The rain soon stopped completely, and the cars dried up the track, minimizing the all-wheel drive advantage of the Subaru. An early pit stop to change tires put Spaude back to 10th, and the driver change brought Andrew Aquilante out of the pits at the back of the pack.
Known for skilled and aggressive driving, Aquilante worked his way back to the front of the pack. With many teams still needing to pit to do the required driver change, much of the competition ended up behind Aquilante and out of his way. He worked his way up inside the top 10. With the help of several yellow flags bunching up the field, Andrew was inside the top five with about 15 minutes to go. But he still had more. With three laps to go, Andrew passed for fourth place, and on the last lap Aquilante took away the third, placing the team on the podium.
Watch video of the #35 Subaru WTX STI in action at Homestead-Miami Speedway.