At the 12H Spa-Francorchamps, SPS automotive performance clinched class victory in the GT3-AM and a strong third place overall under the Heart of Racing by SPS entry. Ian James (GBR), Gray Newell (USA) and Roman de Angelis (CAN) drove the Mercedes-AMG GT3 #27 to another win in their category after their success at Mugello in sometimes difficult conditions.
In the qualifying for this twelve-hour race, the team already laid the foundation for this success. Ian James, Gray Newell and Roman de Angelis achieved the fourth-best lap time in the three sessions, calculated from the average of all three qualifying sections. This meant that the number 27 car started from the second row of the grid and from pole position in the GT3-AM category into the first part of the twelve-hour race distance on Saturday morning.
Already in the early stages, changing weather conditions and many Code 60 phases jumbled up the starting grid. The Mercedes-AMG GT3 #27, however, maintained its position among the top 50 cars on the grid. Well-timed pit stops and almost flawless stints by all drivers pushed the team further and further ahead. At the end of the first six hours, the number 27 car was flagged off in first position overall and thus secured an optimal starting position for the second part of the 12H Spa-Francorchamps on Sunday.
The second part of the twelve-hour race started in dry conditions. The Mercedes-AMG GT3 initially held on to the lead, only having to let a few competitors from the stronger classes pass as the race progressed. In the GT3-AM class, however, the trio extended their lead and also fought for the podium positions in the overall standings. Final driver Roman de Angelis defended his position in the closing stages of the 12H Spa-Francorchamps and crossed the finish line in an excellent third overall position, which also meant a commanding victory in the GT3-AM category. With this result, the number 27 car was once again the best-placed Mercedes-AMG in the entire starting field and defended its lead in the GT3-AM championship.
The next event for the team from Willsbach-Obersulm is scheduled for the last weekend in May. From 26 to 28 May, the team will compete in the second event of the International GT Open, which will also be held at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.
Ian James, #27 Mercedes-AMG GT3: “A great weekend here in Spa, although the conditions weren’t always ideal. It was a lot of fun and we are very happy with this result. It’s a very successful partnership with SPS and we’re looking forward to racing together again in the future.”
Stephan Sohn, team principal SPS automotive performance: “An incredibly strong result. As in Mugello, we finished third overall and P1 in our class, except that the competition was much stronger here in Spa. This makes me even more proud of the whole team and shows again that we can deliver a strong performance even under tough conditions. The result makes us very optimistic for our tasks here in Spa-Francorchamps.”