SPS automotive performance enjoyed a successful start to this season’s Sprint Cup in the GT World Challenge Europe, with two podiums in the Pro-Am class at Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours. In an eventful second race, the Willsbach-based team missed out on class victory in the highly-competitive SRO series by mere tenths of a second.
In ideal conditions, Valentin Pierburg started the opening race on Saturday evening from third place in the Pro-Am class. While Pierburg lost third place shortly after the start, he soon regained it just a few laps later. During his stint, Pierburg continued to work his way through the field and eventually handed the #20 Mercedes-AMG GT3 over to Dominik Baumann in second place. The Austrian consistently extended his advantage over the chasing pack with a series of fast lap times. At the end of the one-hour race, Baumann crossed the finish line in second place in the Pro-Am class.
On Sunday, Baumann started race two from second place in the class. Right from the start, he spent his entire stint fending off attacks from rival cars. By the time he arrived at the mandatory driver changeover, Baumann pulled into the pits with a lead of roughly one second over the third-placed car in the Pro-Am class. A Full Course Yellow at the end of the pit stop window saw Pierburg, who had taken over from Baumann at the wheel of the Mercedes-AMG GT3, briefly drop back to third place. After the restart, Pierburg retook second place. After the race had been neutralised again, and the subsequent Safety Car phase, the second race was released again for the final few laps. Pierburg made up a lot of ground on the leader of the Pro-Am class. However, before he was able to launch a decisive attack, the chequered flag was waved and the black #20 Mercedes-AMG GT3 again finished runner-up, just three tenths of a second behind the winners.
In just two weeks, the schedule for the GT World Challenge Europe takes the SPS automotive performance team back to France. On 28th and 29th May, Circuit Paul Ricard hosts the second race in this year’s Endurance Cup within the GT World Challenge Europe.
Stephan Sohn, team principal SPS automotive performance: “We are obviously very happy with the result. The whole team did an outstanding job this weekend. With a little luck, we could even have been looking at a class win in race two. We obviously want to back this performance up in the next races.”
Dominik Baumann, #20 Mercedes-AMG GT3: “It is always a challenge to drive in the night on this track. The team and my fellow driver Valentin did a great job. It is great motivation to be battling it out at the front of the Pro-Am class. We can definitely build on this result.”