SPS automotive performance defends championship lead at the Hockenheimring

Second place for Valentin Pierburg (GER), Dominik Baumann (AUT) and Ian Loggie (GBR) at SPS automotive performance’s home event at the Hockenheimring was enough for the team to retain the championship lead in the Pro-Am class of the Endurance Cup within the Fanatec GT World Challenge powered by AWS. A nail-biting finale saw the Willsbach-based team narrowly miss out on victory in race three of the season.

The SPS automotive performance team travelled to its home race at the Hockenheimring aiming to defend its lead in the Pro-Am class of the Endurance Cup within the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS. The black #20 Mercedes-AMG GT3 started the three-hour race at the iconic circuit near Heidelberg from third place in its class. No sooner had the race started than it was neutralised by a safety car phase lasting roughly half an hour. This initially denied start driver Ian Loggie the opportunity to launch an attack on the leaders in the Pro-Am class. Scotland’s Loggie continued to run third for the remainder of his stint, before handing over to team-mate Valentin Pierburg in that position.
Pierburg continued to battle for positions in his section of the race, but lost a little ground due to the amount of traffic on the track. Despite this, the number 20 car did take second place in the Pro-Am class shortly before the second mandatory pit stop, when it benefitted from an issue with a rival car. Dominik Baumann took over at the wheel of the black Mercedes-AMG GT3 for the final section of the race. The Austrian initially launched an attack on the leader, but was again stopped in his tracks by a Full Course Yellow and subsequent safety car. When the racing resumed, Baumann closed in on the leader courtesy of some fast lap times, and was in contention to take the victory in the final few laps. However, the experienced Austrian resisted taking any unnecessary risks. After three hours of racing, Baumann crossed the finish line in second place in the Pro-Am class, just 0.2 seconds behind the winning car.
This result was sufficient for SPS automotive performance to defend its lead in the championship. The team tops the table heading to the season finale, which takes place at the start of October at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain.

Valentin Pierburg, #20 Mercedes-AMG GT3: “We made a very good start to the weekend, but were at a disadvantage compared to our rivals this weekend in terms of top speed. However, we battled hard and the safety car phases also played into our hands a little. As such, I am very proud and happy with our second place – and we were not far off taking the win.”

Stephan Sohn, team principal SPS automotive performance: “We came to Hockenheim to defend our championship lead. Unfortunately, the Balance of Performance, did not play into our hands this weekend and we were at a bit of a disadvantage compared to our rivals. Nevertheless, we fought back over the full distance and were ultimately in contention for the class win. We could perhaps have tried to force an opening in the closing laps, but we opted instead for the safer option, in order to secure the points for P2. We are now highly-motivated ahead of our trip to Barcelona, where we obviously want to wrap up the title. I would also like to say a big thank you to the whole team and our drivers, who once again did a great job.”