The two SPS automotive performance Mercedes-AMG GT3 both battled their way to top-ten finishes in their classes at the 73rd staging of the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps. Yannick Mettler (SUI), Lance David Arnold (GER), Miklas Born (SUI) and Jordan Love (AUS) came home fifth in the Silver Cup in the #40 Mercedes-AMG GT3. In the Pro-Am class, the #20 Mercedes-AMG GT3, driven by Valentin Pierburg (GER), Dominik Baumann (AUT), George Kurtz and Colin Braun (both USA), crossed the finish line sixth after 24 hard-fought hours at the circuit in the Ardennes.
Qualifying for the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa was an eventful affair, in which the two Mercedes-AMG GT3 belonging to the SPS automotive performance team were unable to exploit their full potential. A number of red flags and a high volume of traffic made it more than difficult to establish a good starting position for the legendary 24-hour race at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. As such, the Mercedes-AMG GT3 started the 24 hours from ninth (#40) and eleventh (#20) in their classes.
Both the black #20 Mercedes-AMG GT3 and the number 40 car gained positions at the start of the race, before an incident 20 minutes into the race resulted in a long Full Course Yellow phase and the race being neutralised for a while. Many teams used this period to complete their first pit stops. The Willsbach-based team’s two Mercedes-AMG GT3 also came into the pits for their first service. Shortly after the race resumed, a short but heavy shower mixed up the field of 58 GT3 cars again. These circumstances saw the two SPS automotive performance cars drop out of the points positions in their classes.
Consistently fast lap times and virtually flawless performances from all the drivers saw both cars gradually fight their way back towards the front of the field. At nightfall, they were back on course for a top-ten finish. The two Mercedes-AMG GT3 continued their fightback in the night and both GT3 powerhouses were back in the top ten in their classes by the time morning arrived. As the endurance classic progressed, the drivers and team continued to battle for position. With just one hour remaining, the race took another dramatic turn: rain started to fall again, forcing all the teams back into the pits to switch to wet tyres. Both SPS automotive performance Mercedes-AMG GT3 carried their momentum into the final phase of the race and each gained another position. After 24 hours of racing, the #40 Mercedes-AMG GT3 crossed the finish line 21st overall and fifth in the Silver Cup. The number 20 car followed in 25th place overall, which was enough to secure sixth place in the Pro-Am class. Both teams scored valuable points in the Endurance Cup in GT World Challenge Europe.
After a short summer break, the Brands Hatch Circuit in Britain hosts the penultimate round of the GT World Challenge Europe Sprint Cup on the last weekend in August. One week later, the championship enters the finishing straight with the next event in the Endurance Cup at the Nürburgring.
Dominik Baumann, Mercedes-AMG GT3 #20: “I was actually expecting a better result. Last year, we finished fifth, but had a longer interruption for repairs. This time we are sixth. That shows how strong the Pro-Am class is this year. This year’s race had a bit of everything that Spa has to offer: rain, fog and, unfortunately, a lot of incidents. However, we finished the race with both cars and are happy with the experience gained and the points won as we move on to the next races.”
Jordan Love, Mercedes-AMG GT3 #40: “My first 24 Hours of Spa. Absolutely incredible! P5 is our best result of the season so far, and it was roughly what we thought we might be looking at beforehand. The race had everything that Spa is renowned for. Working with Lance, Miklas, Yannick and the whole team this weekend was once again great fun. Thank you to everyone for their hard work.”