Image credit: Phoenix Racing.
In 2015 Phoenix Racing will be on the grid with one Audi R8 LMS ultra each in the Blancpain Endurance Series (BES) and in the Blancpain Sprint Series (BSS), thus being represented in the entire Blancpain GT Series. In the BSS the Austrian Niki Mayr-Melnhof and the former Formula One racer and GT World Champion Markus Winkelhock are firmly setting their sights on podium places. In the BES the two Hong Kong Chinese Marchy Lee and Shaun Thong, supported by the seasoned campaigner Markus Winkelhock, are aiming to gain a foothold in the European racing scene also on an international scale following national successes in the Middle Kingdom.
“These are two exciting programmes in the two Blancpain GT series,” says Phoenix team boss Ernst Moser. “For one we’re going to be on the grid in the sprint series with our proven driver pairing again. Niki (Mayr-Melnhof) and Markus (Winkelhock), aiming for top spots in the championship, are set on picking up where they left off with their podium position in last year’s final race at Baku. For the other it’s an interesting task to impart our experience together with Markus to the two Chinese drivers Lee and Thong and to guide them towards the international top ranks in GT racing.”
Next week (11/12 March) the official BES test at Paul Ricard in Southern France marks the beginning of the programme for Marchy Lee and Shaun Thong. In 2012 Lee won the Audi R8 LMS Cup in China. Additionally, Shaun Thong, who is only 18, will be on the grid in the new Audi Sport TT Cup to be held as part of the DTM. “The entry in the Blancpain Endurance Series is another important step of integrating the Audi Sport platforms in Asia and in Europe,” says Rene Koneberg, Director of Audi Sport customer racing Asia. “Phoenix Racing is one of the most successful and experienced motorsport teams worldwide. This partnership is another complement to our development programme for young Asian talents such as Shaun Thong.” The logo of the Audi R8 LMS Cup, which has been extended to several Asian countries since the cup’s inception, will be extensively featured on the Phoenix R8 for the BES.
“Asia, and primarily China, is one of the major sales markets for Audi. A racing scene with many young and talented drivers is noticeably developing there,” says Ernst Moser. “We look forward to this project that also marks an initial step into this interesting market for Phoenix Racing.”
In the 2015 BSS Phoenix Racing will be fully concentrating on Winkelhock and Mayr-Melnhof. In the first test in Southern France to be held in the middle of March and subsequent tests throughout the season the main focus will be placed on the further improvement of the successful Audi R8 LMS ultra and the individual vehicle set-up to the respective race tracks on which the seven rounds of the extensive Blancpain Sprint Series will be held.
The squad headed by Team Director Ernst Moser and GT Team Manager Bernhard Demmer is tackling the season of the Blancpain GT series with its usual determination and clearly set goals. For the committed crew from Meuspath at the Nürburgring achieving top spots again in the Pit Stop Challenge for the fastest pit stops is a question of honour as well.