Phoenix Heroes: Frank Stippler
2020-04-09

Phoenix Racing celebrated one of its most successful years in GT racing in 2012. Wins in Bathurst, at the Nürburgring and in Spa saw the team from the Eifel mountains taste the victory champagne at three of the most prestigious endurance races in the world. Frank Stippler was a permanent fixture of this success.

‘Stippler, Döttingen, everything’s OK’

But the first thing that comes to mind for Ernst Moser when mentioning the 45-year-old is not the victories or the flat-out laps around the Nordschleife, it’s his radio messages.

“Some of his radio messages have become legendary,” the Team Principal explains. “I can’t imagine racing without them to be honest!” Stippler is particularly keen on letting off some steam while racing on the limit: “That was ridiculous! Ridiculous! That’s his standard radio message if something happens. That and ‘Stippler, Döttingen, everything’s OK’ – those are the messages I really will miss when Frank decides to hang up his boots.”

Part of the success story

For years Stippler has been considered a Nordschleife expert, and for good reason too. The former DTM driver has won here in the Nürburgring Endurance Series a total of 13 times, with countless podiums besides. He has been part of the set-up at Phoenix Racing in the Eifel mountains for over a decade. The Audi works driver has also celebrated three of his most important wins with the Meuspath-based team – overall victories at the Nürburgring 24 Hours in 2012 and 2019, as well as the win at the Spa 24 Hours.

“2012 was an outstanding year for us,” adds Moser. “We have Frank to thank for much of this success, he had a fantastic season.” On his home circuit, Frank really was a cut above. Not only was he one of the men responsible for Phoenix Racing’s third victory at the Nürburgring endurance classic, he also helped Audi to their first overall win there. In Spa, he was in the car for a total of over nine hours and got out of the car completely dehydrated.

The qualities of a perfectionist

These successes weren’t the product of good fortune. The routinier from Bad Münstereifel is considered a meticulous, perseverant and demanding driver. When asked how he would describe the former Supercup champion, the boss’ first response is to smile. “That’s not a simple question to answer. Frank’s not always easy to work with, he has his idiosyncrasies. I think everyone knows about his extreme hygiene habits.”

But the Audi driver is also seen as a key part of the team: “His knowledge is impressive, his instincts unbelievable. If he hears or feels something unusual regarding the gearbox or at the wheel bearings it is time have a look,” the Phoenix Racing founder adds. “He also never forgets what’s important in this business: the team.” That’s why Stippi always likes to throw a small end-of-season party for everyone behind the scenes.

The exception to the rule

Such a long-term partnership with an added slice of loyalty is the exception to the rule in motorsport. The relationship goes much further than that, however. Stippler and Moser share a genuine friendship, all based on a love of the Nürburgring-Nordschleife.

“Frank and the team have grown together over the years,” says the Team Principal, summing up. “We know how valuable we are to each other and appreciate our partnership enormously. Hopefully we’ll be racing together for many years to come!”

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