Successful start to the 2019 International GT Open season at Paul Ricard

An exciting race weekend lies behind the SPS automotive performance team from Willsbach. The first race of the International GT Open was about to start. For the first time SPS automotive performance will start with two Mercedes AMG GT3. Both racing cars were ideally prepared for an exciting race weekend. Last year’s champions duo, Valentin Pierburg and Tom Onslow-Cole, eagerly awaited the re-start of the racing series with the Mercedes in Richard Mille Design (#20). The newly added second driver duo, Miguel Ramos and Fabrizio Crestani, were also perfectly prepared for the weekend. They started with the red Mercedes AMG GT3 (#10) in Vodafone design.

Both driver duos achieved excellent results in the Friday test. Valentin Pierburg and Tom Onslow-Cole know the Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet well and could reach the fastest lap time with 2:00.842 and thus also P1 with the Mercedes AMG GT3. Also, for the driver duo in the second Mercedes with start number 10 the tests worked well and Miguel Ramos and Fabrizio Crestani occupied P4, behind two McLaren 720S GT3 of the team Teo Martin. On Saturday both driver duos again showed a super performance in the 2nd free practice, in which both Mercedes AMG GT3 reached P1: #10 in the Pro class and #20 in the ProAM class, as well as in the overall classification. Good conditions and a top motivation for the whole SPS automotive performance team for the Qualifying and the two races on Saturday and Sunday.

In the first race of the International GT Open in Paul Ricard both driver duos showed a perfect performance and after an exciting race Miguel Ramos and Fabrizio Crestani reached P4 overall and also in the Pro class. Also, the well-rehearsed duo Valentin Pierburg and Tom Onslow-Cole proved their skills and finished the first race of the season with a victory. In addition, the two cars were the fastest Mercedes in the field and Tom Onslow-Cole achieved the fastest lap time with 2:00.407. An incredible first race and an outstanding performance of the entire SPS automotive performance team. Big thanks to the whole crew, as well as to all four drivers, Valentin Pierburg, Tom Onslow-Cole, Miquel Ramos and Fabrizio Crestani. But the team didn’t have much time to celebrate, because on Sunday the 2nd race should be just as successful.

In the Qualifying Tom Onslow-Cole led the field on P1, was overtaken in the meantime by Alessio Rovera of Antonelli MotorSport, also in a Mercedes AMG GT3 after a sprint. In his second “shot”, Tom Onslow-Cole was able to restore conditions with a time of 1:59.349 and take a commanding pole position. Note: The lap time driven by Tom Onslow-Cole was the fastest lap ever driven by a GT3 car in Paul Ricard on this track variant.

Perfect conditions for the second race for number 20 in the ProAM class. Miguel Ramos and Fabrizio Crestani could reach P6 in the Pro class and started motivated into the 2nd race. In the second race on Sunday Miguel Ramos and Fabrizio Crestani with start number 10 were able to hold their own against their rivals and reached a very good second place in the overall standings. The Mercedes with start number 20 had led the field in the middle of the race but had to struggle with tyre problems in the second half of the race due to the intense position fights. As a result, Tom Onslow-Cole and Valentin Pierburg could not collect any points in the second race.

In the overall standings, starting number 20 is now P3 in the PROAM class. The start number 10 on place 2 of the overall driver ranking. In the team classification SPS automotive performance is in 3rd place.

The SPS automotive performance team now prepares motivated for the next race in the International GT Open in Hockenheim on 25th and 26th May 2019. The “home race” is of course eagerly awaited and the team wants to continue the excellent performance of the first race!