SPS automotive performance takes class victory and ends this season’s GT World Challenge Europe as Runners-Up

After finishing runner-up in the sprint competition in GT World Challenge Europe, Valentin Pierburg (GER) and Dominik Baumann (AUT) also ended the season in second place in the overall Pro-Am standings at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Together with their team-mate Martin Konrad (AUT), the trio in the #20 Mercedes-AMG GT3 claimed their first class victory in the Endurance Cup in this high-class racing series. Yannick Mettler, Miklas Born (both SUI) and Jordan Love in the number 40 car also ended the season in the points, finishing eighth in the Silver Cup.

The #20 Mercedes-AMG GT3 was in good early form on Saturday. Dominik Baumann set the fastest time overall in free practice, ending the session in first place. They then backed up that performance in qualifying. Valentin Pierburg, Dominik Baumann and Martin Konrad qualified second in the Pro-Am class, putting them in a good position going into the three-hour season finale at the Spanish Grand Prix circuit. The #40 Mercedes-AMG GT3, which lined up in the Silver Cup, had to settle for tenth place on the grid in its class.

A total of 46 GT3 cars started the final race of the 2021 GT World Challenge Europe on Sunday afternoon. Konrad, who was first behind the wheel of the #20 Mercedes-AMG GT3, established himself in second place in the Pro-Am class. After setting consistent lap times throughout his entire stint, he handed the car over to team-mate Pierburg at the pit stop. Pierburg continued to battle for position in the leading Pro-Am group, before making way for Baumann to drive the final stint. Once all the final pit stops had been completed, Baumann found himself running third. He then benefitted from a drive-through penalty handed to a rival car and inherited second place. With consistently quick lap times – among the fastest in the entire field – Baumann closed in on the leaders lap by lap. After a few laps, Baumann took the lead in the Pro-Am class and had soon opened an advantage of over ten seconds. The lead was never in doubt from that point on, despite an eventful final phase of the race with two appearances from the safety car. As such, SPS automotive performance celebrated its first class victory in the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup. In doing so, the team added second place in the overall Pro-Am standings in GT World Challenge Europe to second place overall in the Sprint Cup.

In the Silver Cup, Jordan Love was the start driver in the #40 car. The Australian lost a few positions at the start, but remained on course for the top ten throughout his entire stint. Yannick Mettler took over from Love with the silver Mercedes-AMG GT3 running twelfth. Mettler also stayed within striking distance of the points positions during his stint. Miklas Born was the last behind the wheel of the #40 Mercedes-AMG GT3. He climbed into eighth place in the final stint, ensuring the Willsbach-based team ended the season with another points finish.

In its second full season, SPS automotive performance ends 2021 with three class victories and two runner-up positions in the final standings in the Pro-Am class.

Stephan Sohn, team principal SPS automotive performance: “I am very proud of the whole team, which has done a fantastic job all year. Our form was clearly on the up – it is a shame that the season is now over. We could possibly have done slightly better in some races, but we can be happy with the season in the Pro-Am class. The Silver Cup, in which a lot of the drivers are professional, is very fiercely contested. Our young drivers, some of whom are in their first season in GT3 racing, have learned a lot. All in all, it has been a great season in one of the best GT3 series in the world.”