SPS automotive performance enjoyed a perfect start to the Asian Le Mans Series with two class victories. Valentin Pierburg (GER), Ian Loggie (GBR) and Mikaël Grenier (CAN) in the #20 Mercedes-AMG GT3 won the GT-AM class in commanding fashion in both four-hour races. Following this flawless performance, the team from Willsbach can now legitimately set its sights on winning the championship going into the second and final race weekend.
Mikaël Grenier was at the wheel of the #20 Mercedes-AMG GT3 for both the ten-minute qualifyings. The Canadian set the second-fastest time of all the GT-AM drivers in both sessions, narrowly missing out on pole position in his class by just a few tenths of a second. This presented the Willsbach-based team with promising grid positions for the two four-hour races.
Ian Loggie was the start driver for the opening race of the season, at the circuit in the Dubai desert. The Scot immediately took the lead in the GT-AM class at the start, and then set about consistently building a lead throughout his stint. After a good hour at the wheel, he handed the Mercedes-AMG GT3 over to his team-mate Valentin Pierburg in the lead. Pierburg also did a great job of defending first place and came in for the scheduled pit stop with a comfortable lead. Next behind the wheel of the black Mercedes-AMG GT3 with the start number 20 was Mikaël Grenier. The newly-named Mercedes-AMG driver strengthen SPS automotive performance’s grip on the lead with a series of consistently fast lap times, which were amongst the fastest of the entire GT3 field. After four hours of racing, the #20 Mercedes-AMG GT3 crossed the finish line first in the GT-AM category to claim the first class victory for SPS automotive performance in the team’s first race in the Asian Le Mans Series.
Race two, on Sunday, was a similar story. Ian Loggie, who once again took the wheel for the opening section of the race, battled his way into first place in the GT-AM class in the early stages. A well-timed pit stop during a Full Course Yellow phase allowed Valentin Pierburg, who had taken over the driving duties in the Mercedes-AMG GT3 from Loggie during the pit stop, to return to the track with a large lead over the chasing pack. Pierburg defended the lead in the class with a consistent and error-free stint. He handed the car over to Mikaël Grenier who, as on Saturday, took responsibility for the final stint in the black Mercedes-AMG GT3. Grenier again set very fast lap times in his second race outing of the weekend, ensuring that the number 20 car could not be caught. Win number two in race number two rounded off a perfect debut for the Willsbach-based team in the Asian ACO series.
Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi hosts the final race weekend of this season’s Asian Le Mans Series, with a further two four-hour races awaiting the competitors.
Valentin Pierburg, Mercedes-AMG GT3 #20: “A fantastic weekend. The whole team did a flawless job. Thanks also to Ian and Mik, who drove superbly. We are overjoyed and will obviously be trying to produce another performance like this next weekend.”
Mikaël Grenier, #20 Mercedes-AMG GT3: “A very good weekend for us. The team gave us a great car and my teammates did a great job as well. Now we’re looking forward to Abu Dhabi. We have a good car and we all know the track. Of course we want to win there now too.”
Stephan Sohn, team principal at SPS automotive performance: “We are obviously super happy with this result. Everyone did a fantastic job and was rewarded for their efforts. However, we must now immediately focus on the next, decisive weekend, in order to be successful again in Abu Dhabi.”