Dramatic conclusion to the Sprint Cup
The 2021 Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Sprint Cup concluded at Valencia, Spain, on 25-26 September 2021. Sky Tempesta Racing’s Chris Froggatt had a new Sprint Cup team-mate for the final event of the season – Eddie Cheever III. The duo showed excellent race pace, but the results were elusive in this highly competitive series. Fifth and seventh-place finishes meant that Sky Tempesta Racing finished the season ninth in the Teams’ Standings.
In the first of the weekend’s qualifying sessions, Froggatt set a fastest lap time of 1:33.759 around the 4,005m, 14-turn Spanish circuit to put the #93 Sky Tempesta Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 ninth on the grid for Race 1. Cheever followed this with a 1:32.490 in the second qualifying session to secure a fourth-place start in Race 2.
Froggatt took the first driving duties for Sunday morning’s one-hour sprint race. He had a strong start, avoiding incidents and collisions that eliminated several competitors on the first lap, and jumped into fifth place before the safety car was brought out. This was a position he was able to maintain when racing resumed, showing promising pace. Froggatt continued to progress through the pack and has improved to third place after the second safety car when he entered the pits. Unfortunately, handing over to Cheever, the team lost 12 seconds in the pit-stop, meaning the #93 re-joined the pack in sixth place. Cheever continued the team’s strong race pace and was able to finish fifth as the 36-lap race concluded.
Racing action resumed on Sunday afternoon, with Cheever lining up on the fifth row of the grid for the final race of the 2021 Sprint Cup. He gained a position in the opening lap, but on his second lap around the tight track Cheever was hit from behind by the Team WRT Audi R8 LMS GT, causing him and two other competitors to spin. Cheever was fortunate not to receive damage in the incident and was able re-join, albeit at the back of the field. The team then faced the hard challenge of climbing through the pack, which proved difficult on such a narrow track. Taking over at the halfway mark, Froggatt continued the battle, putting in an impressive drive to improve position and bring home the #93 Sky Tempesta Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 seventh.
Following the final rounds of the 2021 Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Sprint Cup, Sky Tempesta Racing finished the Teams’ Standings ninth on 20 points. Driving duties were split during the season, meaning that in the Drivers’ Standings Froggatt finished 12th on 22 points, Giorgio Roda was 15th on 13 points and Cheever was 16th on 9 points.
Chris Froggatt: “When we set ourselves the challenge of competing in the Silver Cup class of the Sprint Cup, we knew it would be highly competitive and challenging for us, both as drivers and as a team. I’m immensely proud of how resilient the whole team has been during this steep learning curve of a season. We’ve made so much progress, learning every step of the way while also overcoming some bad luck. We’ve fought hard every single race and shown that we have the pace to compete. Sunday’s fifth-place finish was our highest this season, demonstrating that we continue to take onboard the learnings and improve each and every event. This season has made us all stronger to come back fighting for better positions and more points next season.”
Eddie Cheever: “It was an unbelievable feeling to re-join the team and get in the car for the Sprint Cup. Obviously, I know the team well and Chris as a team-mate, but this was my first race in the Silver Cup class and the Sprint Cup this year. The weekend started positively but come Sunday and we were unlucky in the races. It’s such a competitive championship and we lost ten or more seconds in the pits compared to our opponents. Positively, our race pace was good, and we were one of the fastest in class. In Race 2, I had a good start and gained a position but the contact from Dries Vanthoor took that away. Luckily, the car was not broken. Starting again from last place we had very good pace and made up some positions. Chris was really very fast, so I think our race performance was positive. Even though the result wasn’t what we hoped for, we had lots of fun trying.”
Sky Tempesta Racing will next compete in the final round of the 2021 Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup, which will take place in Barcelona, Spain, on 25-26 September 2021.