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Nürburgring Endurance

Phoenix in Lineup Change for N24 Title Defense

Phoenix signs a raft of drivers including Westbrook, Blomqvist and Gounon for N24 defense…

Photo: Phoenix Racing

Defending Nürburgring 24 winner Phoenix Racing has announced a new set of driver lineups for its return to the Eifel enduro this year after apparently losing its factory backing for the race.

The German squad, which landed its fourth N24 victory last year with Frederic Vervisch, Dries Vanthoor, Frank Stippler and Pierre Kaffer, will again field two cars in the 2020 edition.

However, Stippler is the only member of that 2019 winning lineup to remain, while the team has made several high-profile signings including Richard Westbrook, Jamie Green, Tom Blomqvist and Jules Gounon.

Stippler will share the No. 5 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo with former Ford GT factory driver Westbrook, Audi DTM ace Green and German racer Vincent Kolb who was a part of the second Phoenix lineup that placed seventh overall last year.

It will mark the second 24-hour race of 2020 for Westbrook, who will also contest the 24 Hours of Le Mans in a factory Aston Martin Vantage GTE.

Audi works driver Green currently represents Team Rosberg in DTM but also made a handful of appearances for Phoenix in last year’s NLS series (formerly VLN) and GT World Challenge Europe.

Phoenix Racing’s No. 14 car for the Nürburgring 24 will be driven by Kim-Luis Schramm, Michele Beretta, Gounon and Blomqvist.

Former BMW factory driver Blomqvist, who was released from the marque’s IMSA lineup late last year, will make his first appearance in Audi GT3 machinery.

The Briton contested the previous four editions of the Nürburgring 24 with various BMW teams and also won the Total 24 Hours of Spa in a BMW M6 GT3 in 2018.

Bentley works driver Gounon won the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour last month and is now set for his first Audi drive since 2017 when he won Spa with Sainteloc Racing.

In addition to the Nürburgring 24, Phoenix plans to enter an Audi GT3 for Schramm, Kolb and Beretta into the full NLS season.

Comments from team principal Ernst Moser appear to hint at the team not returning to GT World Challenge Europe after running two Pro cars full-time in 2019.

It also appears that neither of the Phoenix Nürburgring cars are factory-backed.

“Giving young talents a chance and supporting them in their development has always been an important part of Phoenix Racing’s work,” said Moser.

“We are even more pleased to be working with Vincent, Kim-Luis and Michele this year. They showed convincing performances last season. That’s where we want to start and take the next step.

“Our focus is on our two entries in the 24-hour race and also the NLS program.”

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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