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Phoenix to Operate WTM Ferrari Program, New LMP3 Project

Phoenix Racing replaces Rinaldi Racing as operational partner for WTM Ferrari squad…

Photo: Ferrari

Quadruple Nürburgring 24 winner Phoenix Racing has replaced Rinaldi Racing as the operating partner of the Wochenspiegel Team Monschau Ferrari GT3 squad.

Phoenix will take over the running of WTM’s two Ferrari 488 GT3 Evos and an LMP3-class Duqueine D08 Nissan which is new to the team’s stable for the 2021 season.

Program details have yet to be confirmed, but WTM plans to feature in “international races” and is evaluating a return to the Nürburgring 24 and NLS championship.

The team scored three consecutive top-ten finishes at the Nürburgring 24 between 2017 and 2019 under its four-year partnership with Rinaldi.

It was also a front-running outfit in the NLS (formerly VLN) until it withdrew from the series at the start of last year due to Balance of Performance-related safety concerns.

WTM’s new program partner Phoenix Racing won the 2019 N24 with an Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo driven by Frank Stippler, Frederic Vervisch, Dries Vanthoor and Pierre Kaffer.

The experienced Audi DTM entrant, which is based in Meuspath village next to the Nürburgring, is set to run a Ferrari GT3 car for the first time next season.

“We are very happy to work with such a professional and renowned team,” said WTM Racing team owner Georg Weiss.

“Of course, our goal is to build on our previous successes with the Ferrari 488 GT3. At the same time, we’re breaking new ground in prototype racing together.

“I think it’s very beneficial to have a successful team like Phoenix Racing by your side.

“At the same time, I would like to thank our previous partner Rinaldi Racing for their efforts over the past four years.”

Phoenix Racing team principal Ernst Moser added: “Of course we know WTM Racing as a strong competitor from our Nordschleife races. Georg Weiss and his team showed impressive performances there as a private team with both Porsche and Ferrari.

“We’re really excited to be working with a team that has so many fans.”

WTM’s foray into LMP3 with the Duqueine D08 is set to involve a program in either the European Le Mans Series or the Michelin Le Mans Cup, while Leonard Weiss is the first driver to be confirmed.

It is set to mark the second prototype racing program for Phoenix, which has already announced an LMP2 entry of its own for the Asian Le Mans Series.

“In the winter we will thoroughly familiarize ourselves with the Ferrari 488 GT3 and experience the Ferrari myth first hand,” said Moser.

“A new brand is not unusual in our team and we are used to professionally separating the Audi factory engagement from customer assignments.

“With the LMP3 program we will use our know-how from the DTM: a Le Mans Prototype and a DTM Class One car have similar downforce values.

“I am sure that this partnership will be successful. We are looking forward [to it].”

With WTM absent from the Nürburgring in 2020, Ferrari’s Nordschleife presence was led by Swiss outfit Octane 126 which started from the front row at the N24 and was an NLS front-runner.

WTM’s only race appearance of a coronavirus-disrupted year came in the 24H Series Europe round at Monza. 

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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