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VLN/Nürburgring 24

Land Replaces Phoenix in Audi Factory Lineup for N24

Audi to support four factory-backed cars in Nürburgring 24…

Photo: Audi

Photo: Audi

Land Motorsport has gained factory status for this year’s Nürburgring 24, with the German squad replacing Phoenix Racing in the manufacturer’s increased four-car works-supported effort, which includes the return of WRT.

The reigning ADAC GT Masters champions, which finished runner-up in January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, will enter two Audi R8 LMS cars, alongside WRT’s pair of factory entries, marking an increase over Audi’s two supported cars in the event last year.

The driver lineup for the the effort, meanwhile, features six previous winners.

Christopher Haase and Pierre Kaffer will share the first Land car, while Kelvin van der Linde and Markus Winkelhock are listed in the team’s second entry.

Christopher Mies and Connor De Phillippi, meanwhile, are listed in both Land Audis.

In the WRT entries, Marcel Fassler and Robin Frijns are in the team’s first entry, with Frank Stippler and Frederic Vervisch in the second car.

Nico Mueller and Rene Rast are set to join both WRT teams.

The lineup includes six previous winners of the N24: Haase, Mies, Mueller, Rast, Stippler and Winkelhock, while De Phillippi and van der Linde are previous ADAC GT Masters champions.

Blancpain GT Series champion Frijns and three-time 24 Hours of Le Mans victor Fassler are also present in the lineup.

“We’re poised for fierce competition with a strong lineup,” commented Chris Reinke, head of Audi Sport customer racing.

“In addition, we’re again expecting several customer teams to be competing in the Audi R8 LMS this year.”

No word has been given on Audi’s reason to drop longtime factory partner Phoenix, with the Ernst Moser-led team yet to announce its 2017 program. 

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist focusing on European series for Sportscar365. Kilshaw was the founder of WorldSportsCar.co.uk and is a member of the Autosport Academy. Contact Jake

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. J~

    March 9, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    Easy decision for Audi. Phoenix had a lousy year last year. Only competitive in Asia, really. WRT and Land were clearly the top Audi teams.

    But….

    N24 is the one race they did do better than Land. Both DNF but Phoenix was only -17 laps down from winner and -13 from leading WRT Audi. Also better fastest laps avg than WRT

    Still gonna be tough w/ dominant Mercs and BMWs dream team of hot shoes. And you know Porsche are licking their chops, and a 488 to top it all off…

    • KW

      March 9, 2017 at 1:21 pm

      I suppose that this decision could have other reasons than the unusually low performance last year. Phoenix is still one of the Audi DTM teams and expands more and more its activities in Asia; they are not only in the Asian Le Mans Series, but they will also be the Audi works team in the Blancpain Asia GT series. So that might be more a question of capacity than a question of performance.

      • J~

        March 9, 2017 at 3:35 pm

        Of course…

        And btw….if you go to Phoenix website several job openings for mechanics and a team manager…

        …dream BIG

        • KW

          March 10, 2017 at 1:48 pm

          Sure – would you agree to move to China if half of your company is moving there? Such a move results in many vacancies…

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