Phoenix Racing Press Release
Phoenix Racing will be fielding two Audi R8 LMS ultra cars in the Blancpain Sprint Series (BSS) driven by the two GT1 World Champions Marc Basseng (DE) and Markus Winkelhock (DE), plus the seasoned GT driver Niki Mayr-Melnhof (AT) and the promising talent Alessandro Latif (GB). The driver pairing in the #5 Phoenix Audi sporting new, aggressive graphics in white, red and grey will be formed by Basseng and Latif while the cockpit of car #6 will be shared by Mayr-Melnhof and Winkelhock. The Blancpain Sprint Series will open on 20/21 April with the first of seven rounds at Nogaro, France, featuring a qualification race on Easter Sunday and a main race on Easter Monday, each lasting for sixty minutes.
“We’re delighted about two strong new signings. Niki Mayr-Melnhof has a lot of experience and showed his class on finishing last year’s GT series in third place. Alessandro Latif is a young, up-and-coming driver with excellent prospects who provided a sampling of his talent right on his first two runs in the R8,” says Phoenix Team Director Ernst Moser. “Together with Marc Basseng and Markus Winkelhock we’re perfectly positioned to be in contention for victories and the championship title in the Blancpain Sprint Series.”
Marc Basseng and Markus Winkelhock in 2012 belonged to the victorious Phoenix team that won the Nürburgring 24 Hours with the Audi R8 LMS ultra. In the same year the 35-year-old Basseng (Rosenbach) and Markus Winkelhock (Berglen-Steinach), who is 2 years younger, jointly became FIA GT1 World Champions. Both are long-standing members of Phoenix Racing’s regular driver squad.
Niki Mayr-Melnhof and Alessandro Latif, as well, have previously gathered experiences in the Audi sports car. The 35-year-old Austrian has been competing in various GT Championships since 2010 and last year clinched third place in the FIA GT Series standings in the Audi R8 LMS ultra. In the Audi R8 GTD Alessandro Latif contested the Daytona 24 Hours in Florida at the beginning of the year and – among others, with Markus Winkelhock – the Sebring 12 Hours. The student from London, who will only be 18 on 11 April, entered kart racing at the age of eleven and subsequently moved up into Formula Renault.
Phoenix Racing based in the Nürburgring industrial park in Meuspath has numbered among the most successful German motorsport teams ever since it was formed in 1999. As Audi Sport Team Phoenix, Ernst Moser’s outfit won the DTM drivers’ title with Martin Tomczyk in 2011 and with Mike Rockenfeller in 2013 when the squad clinched the team title as well. Phoenix has won the Nürburgring 24 Hours three times, the Spa-Francorchamps 24 Hours twice and the Bathurst 12 Hour in Australia once
Photo credit: Phoenix Racing