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SPS Among First to Return to the Track in Hockenheim Test

SPS’ new Mercedes GT3 Evo among cars recently testing at Hockenheim…

Photo: SPS Automotive Performance

Mercedes-AMG customer team SPS Automotive Performance has become one of the first sports car teams to return to the track, having completed a multi-day test at Hockenheim.

SPS took four drivers, including Nico Bastian, to Hockenheim for what’s understood to have been a three-day test with its new Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo.

The team, which is based near Stuttgart, has confirmed programs in the GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and International GT Open, and could also compete in Michelin Le Mans Cup. 

Christian Hook, Manuel Lauck and Florian Scholze were all present for the test and are set to share the SPS car in GTWC Europe Endurance Cup competition, while Hook and Lauck will pair up in GT Open. 

Dominik Baumann and Valentin Pierburg are expected to race another SPS car in selected GTWC Europe Endurance rounds.

SPS is amongst the first teams to complete any running since restrictions were put in place to handle the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Germany has had a much lower death rate than the UK, France, Italy and Spain, and is gradually easing its lockdown restrictions, with most stores already permitted to reopen and the reopening of restaurants and hotels imminent.

SPS mechanics were pictured wearing face masks while working on the car in posts shared on social media.

Other teams present at the test included Leipert Motorsport, which ran a Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo and Mercedes-AMG GT4, DMV GTC team Equipe Vitesse with its Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo, and Allied Racing with a Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport.

“Being allowed to be back at the race track is a good feeling, even though it was only for testing,” said SPS team principal Stephan Sohn.

“In normal conditions, we would already be in the middle of the season’s action at this time. Sadly, the Dubai 24 Hours in January was the only race we were able to compete in this year so far.

“We hope to be able to resume the normal race activities pretty soon, but, of course, health is the main priority.”

SRO America Teams to Resume Testing Next Week

The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship has enforced a testing ban during the current circumstances, but teams competing elsewhere are taking advantage of opportunities for track time.

Sportscar365 understands that several SRO America teams are scheduled to test at Virginia International Raceway next week ahead of the resumption of GTWC America at the track in July.

IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge and IMSA Prototype Challenge teams, meanwhile, are understood to also be eligible to test at this time but adhering to state laws and social distancing guidelines.

The FIA World Endurance Championship has not made any changes to its testing regulations, although the series is “evaluating the situation for the remainder of the year” according to an official source.

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist. He is a graduate of Politics and International Relations.

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