After a long summer break the SPS automotive performance team finally continued in the GT Open. It went to the home of British motorsport, Silverstone. The whole team went with high expectations into the weekend, because they knew that the Mercedes AMG GT3 works very well on this track, because it has its strengths especially in the fast curves. Those who know Silverstone know that you can gain a lot of time here especially in the fast corners like Maggotts, Becketts and Chapel.
So with this basic confidence in a good performance they went into the first day of testing.
The drivers of the two cars, Pierburg/Onslow-Cole (#20) and Ramos/Crestani (#10), learned how the Michelin tyre works on the newly paved track. The results of the free practice sessions showed that this was very successful. In each of the 3 training sessions the two AMGs were able to place in the top 5. With this tailwind we went into the first race day of the weekend. Here was the next unknown on the weekend. The race control decided to introduce a new qualifying format after the summer break. This now means that both drivers have to drive in the qualifying sessions on Saturdays and Sundays. The fastest lap of the respective driver is then added and divided by 2. The time that results determines the starting position for each race.
Back to the first race day. Since this other format was new for all teams, nobody really knew what to expect. Qualifying 1 went very well for both cars. The #10 qualified on P4 and the #20 on P6 and P1 respectively in the ProAm class. So both SPS cars in the top 10. Valentin Pierburg (#20) and Miguel Ramos (#10) drove the start of race 1. The first lap was very hectic and marked with many minor accidents. Both Mercedes AMG GT3 of SPS could hold their ground very well and drove a solid pace until the first pitstop. In the pitstop Tom Onslow-Cole (#20) and Fabrizio Crestani (#10) took over the two cars and were able to win many places by skilful overtaking manoeuvres. In the end the #10 came in 3rd overall and the #20 7th overall and ProAm 2nd. Thus both cars could bag important points for the championship in this first race.
With this motivating result came race day 2, where both cars qualified for the top 10 again. The #10 on place 3 and the #20 on place 10. So the course was set for another successful race. For the 2nd race this weekend it was the responsibility of the two professional drivers Fabrizio Crestani (#10) and Tom Onslow-Cole (#20) to bring the two GT3s safely through the start. Both succeeded very well and after lap 1 they could settle down on positions 3 (#10) and 5 (#20). Unfortunately Tom Onslow-Cole made a mistake while overtaking another car and turned away. Very annoying but even the best ones make such mistakes from time to time.
Nevertheless Tom could fight his way back to position 6 where he handed over to Valentin Pierburg. Miguel Ramos took the wheel from Fabrizio Crestani lying on P3. Both Miguel and Valentin could hold their positions with a very good pace. Miguel Ramos was even able to take position 3 in the last lap, but due to an unfortunate collision also in the last lap, he dropped back to P5. Valentin Pierburg was able to finish on the podium again with P3 in the ProAm class.
So the team could score solid points again which leads to the following championship standings:
#10 – P5 overall, 3 points gap to P3
#20 – P1 in ProAM ranking, 9 points ahead of P2
In the end a big thank you to the whole team which did a perfect job and smoothed the way for the successful weekend.
Next week we will continue with a double event. On the one hand the Michelin Le Mans Cup visits the legendary race track in the Ardennes, the Circuit de Spa – Francorchamps and on the other hand it continues with the GT Open in Barcelona.