Podium finish for SPS automotive performance at the Red Bull Ring

SPS automotive performance celebrated its first overall podium of the season at the fifth round of the International GT Open at the Red Bull Ring in Austria. Reece Barr (IRL) and Mikaeel Pitamber (RSA) drove the #20 Mercedes-AMG GT3 to third overall in Saturday’s race. With fourth and sixth place in the PROAM class, Dexter Müller and Yannick Mettler (both SUI) in the sister car #54 collected further championship points.

The #20 Mercedes-AMG GT3 with Mikaeel Pitamber at the wheel started the first race of the International GT Open on the Austrian Grand Prix circuit from 13th on the grid. Already in the first laps of the 70-minute race Pitamber made up several positions. After completing his stint, the young South African handed over the car to his teammate Reece Barr in seventh place. As the race progressed, the Irishman in car number 20 continued to fight his way forward with strong driving maneuvers. In the final phase, Barr benefited from a mistake by a competitor and moved up to third overall, a position he did not relinquish until the finish. The duo thus celebrated their first podium finish in the International GT Open. Dexter Müller as the starting driver in the sister car with start number 54 fought for positions in the points in the PROAM category right from the start. Even after the obligatory driver change, Yannick Mettler had to fight some tough duels and crossed the finish line in sixth place in the PROAM class at the end of the race and collecting further important championship points.

Both teams had also secured a good starting position for the second race on Sunday. Reece Barr, as the starting driver, went into the second race over an hour’s duration from fourth position on the second row of the grid. Teammate Yannick Mettler in the #54 was able to start the second race from tenth position. However, the #20 Mercedes-AMG GT3 suffered minor damage in the opening laps due to unforced contact from a competitor. This was enough, however, for Barr to be unable to match the pace of the leading group and drop out of the top-10. In a very turbulent race with many safety car phases, Barr and Pitamber still tried everything to make up the deficit, but unfortunately remained without points with twelfth place on the day. Yannick Mettler in the #54 Mercedes-AMG GT3, on the other hand, stayed in the leading group and was already on course for the podium. However, a safety car phase thwarted the team’s strategy. Dexter Müller, as the second driver in the #54, fought for the podium until the very end, but ultimately had to settle for fourth place in the PROAM category.

In just two weeks’ time, from September 22-24, the International GT Open will kick off its penultimate event of the 2023 season at the high-speed circuit in Monza, Italy.

Reece Barr, #20 Mercedes-AMG GT3: “Yesterday we showed a very good performance after not always having the necessary luck in the season so far. The team did a great job preparing the car and also did a fantastic job in the race. Unfortunately, we were unlucky again in the second race. Fourth on the grid was a good starting position, but that’s how motorsport can be sometimes.”

Stephan Sohn, team principal SPS automotive performance: “We can be very satisfied with the team’s performance. Unfortunately, we didn’t always have the necessary luck this weekend, which is sometimes needed. Driver and team worked flawlessly, which makes me very proud. Congratulations to Reece and Mikaeel on their podium – they deserve it.”

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