For the season finale of the International GT Open in October our team went to the Autodrome Nazionale Monza, also known as “Temple of Speed”. That this weekend will be one of the most important in the whole season was clear to everyone from the outset, since it was the championship in Italy. The car #20 was at the beginning of the weekend on place 1 of the Pro/Am Championship with 4 points ahead of the Lamborghini of Vincenzo Sospiri Racing on place 2. Accordingly motivated and concentrated the whole team went into the weekend. Both cars ran well from the beginning and with a good pace in all training sessions you could always move well in the top 7, respectively top 3 in the Pro/Am class. Both cars were able to take this good performance with them into race day 1. Valentin Pierburg (#20) and Fabrizio Crestani (#10) qualified the two AMG GT3s in the best possible way. Crestani could sit down on a good 5th place, while Valentin Pierburg qualified outstanding on 9th place in the overall standings and 2nd place in the Pro/Am. Also the competing Lamborghini could be beaten in qualifying. Nevertheless, a qualifying is only a qualifying and everyone knows that anything can happen in the race – and that’s how it happened. Fabrizio Crestani (#10) starts very well and was able to work his way up to P3 in his stint and was the fastest car on the track in the meantime. Valentin Pierburg also got a mega start and was able to stay on P9 before he was turned out by a cocky McLaren during an overtaking attempt. Pierburg then stood unhappily in the gravel and was stuck, which led to the fact that one lost 3 laps what is not to be caught up in a sprint race. Of course this was fatal for the championship fight, especially because the Lamborghini drove to 1st place.
As bad as it was for the one car, as good as it was for the sister car, which was taken over by Miguel Ramos after a sovereign pit stop. Ramos was able to go a very good pace and keep the gap to the car on 1st place with less than 5 seconds. This was important as this car had received a 5 second penalty due to a mistake in the pit stop. So the #10 was a surprising but definitely deserved victory in race 1. #20 finished on 6th place in Pro/Am and could secure 3 points.
As a result, the Lamborghini was now 3 points behind in race 2.
Despite this precipitation in terms of championship, the team never gave up and they went “all in” for the Sunday race.
In qualifying first Tom Onslow-Cole could set the #20 on a very good place 4 / 2 in ProAm. Miguel Ramos brought his #10 to 11th place. In a very exciting race the excellent team performance paid off throughout the year and in the second year you could secure the Pro/Am title.
A big praise goes again to the whole team, which worked hard throughout the whole year, often gave up sleep to get the car ready in time and was always highly motivated – without this team all this would not be possible.
Also a big thank you to our drivers Valentin Pierburg, Miguel Ramos, Tom Onslow-Cole and Fabrizio Crestani for their commitment in the races.
So the GT Open season 2019 will be over and the SPS team can look back with pride.
Nevertheless, the motorsport year 2019 is far from over for us. Next week our team will go to Portimao for the season finale of the Michelin Le Mans Cup. Then comes one of our season highlights, the 9H race in Kyalami, South Africa.