Next top finish for SPS automotive performance at Mugello

The #27 Mercedes-AMG GT3 run by SPS automotive performance under the Heart of Racing by SPS banner finished fourth in the GT3-AM category at the 12H Mugello. Coming from the pit lane, Ian James (GBR), Gray Newell (USA) and Roman de Angelis (CAN) started a strong fight-back and narrowly missed out on the class podium at the start of the European racing season.

In their first appearance at the 12H Mugello last year, the cooperation between The Heart of Racing and SPS automotive performance immediately clinched class victory in the GT3-AM category and a strong third place overall. In the tenth edition of this endurance race, the team had set itself the goal of achieving a similarly good result under the banner of Heart of Racing by SPS. With Ian James, Gray Newell and Roman de Angelis, the successful driver trio from 2023 was once again on the grid.

However, the race weekend initially did not start as hoped. After the #27 Mercedes-AMG GT3 was penalised after qualifying, the team decided to start the race from the pit lane. This strategy initially paid off. Ian James, who took over the start of the 12H Mugello, made up many positions in the initial phase of the 36-car field and was already in the top ten overall before the end of the first hour of the race. The strategy, which is extremely important in endurance races, and faultless stints by all the drivers moved the blue Mercedes-AMG GT3 further up the field. After the first six and a half hours of racing on Saturday, the number 27 car was third overall and second in the GT3 AM category.

The restart of the twelve-hour race took place on Sunday morning. Roman de Angelis piloted the #27 Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the first phase and initially took the lead on the track before the Canadian came into the pits for the first stop. A thrilling battle for the podium positions in the GT3-AM class then developed due to several Code 60 phases and the resulting different strategies. Just over an hour and a half before the end of the race, rain began to fall for the first time this weekend. During this stage, the blue Mercedes-AMG GT3 had to make a lengthy, unscheduled pit stop due to a technical issue. The team fixed the problem in a very short time, but the number 27 car dropped out of the podium positions in the GT3-AM class as a result. A strong final stint by Roman de Angelis on a now wet track was unfortunately stopped by several Code 60 phases and went unrewarded. After 317 laps, the #27 Mercedes-AMG GT3 crossed the finish line in fourth place in the GT3-AM class.

The International GT Open kicks off its new season at the end of April in Portimao, Portugal. SPS automotive performance will once again be represented with two Mercedes-AMG GT3s at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve this weekend.

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