Phoenix Enter Two-Car Audi Squad into Blancpain Sprint Series

by Peter Allen
Phoenix Racing

Phoenix Racing has unveiled a two-car entry into the renamed Blancpain Sprint Series for 2014.

The German outfit will run two Audi R8 LMS ultras in the championship previously known as the FIA GT Series.

Marc Basseng and Markus Winkelhock, who won the series under the guise of the FIA GT1 World Championship in 2012, will lead the driver pairings in each car.

The pair also won the Nurburgring 24 Hours with Phoenix and Audi in 2012.

Winkelhock will be joined in the #5 Audi by Austrian Niki Mayr-Melnhof, who claimed two wins in the FIA GT Series last year in a WRT Audi he shared with Rene Rast.

Basseng will share the #6 with young Briton Alessandro Latif. Latif, who only turns 18 in April, raced a Wolf prototype in 2013 and has begun 2014 driving an Audi R8 in the United SportsCar Championship at Daytona and Sebring. He also took part in Audi’s DTM young driver evaluation test at the end of 2013.

“We’re delighted about two strong new signings,” said team boss Ernst Moser. “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.

“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.”

Sister Audi squad WRT named their line-ups for the Blancpain GT Series last month. In the Sprint Series, reigning champion Laurens Vanthoor will share with Brazilian Cesar Ramos, who won in the Endurance Series in 2013 in a Ferrari. The second car will see Rast paired with Enzo Ide, who drove for Phoenix last year.

The team will also field an entry in the Silver Cup for youngsters Vincent Abril and Mateusz Lisowski, and run a car under the G-Drive Racing banner for Russian driver Roman Rusinov and the second half of the 2013 champion pairing, Stephane Ortelli.

In the Blancpain Endurance Series, Vanthoor and Ramos will share with Basseng while ex-World Touring Car Championship driver James Nash will drive the second car with Audi R8 regulars Christopher Mies and Frank Stippler.

In the Gentleman Cup, team co-owner Yves Weerts will drive alongside Jean-Luc Blanchemain and Christian Kelders.

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