Phoenix Racing’s list of honours over the course of its 20-year history is almost never-ending – but the victories at the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring, just around the corner from the team’s base, are some of the most memorable moments of the Phoenix story. The team first won at the famous race in 2012 with Audi. Behind the wheel that day was a certain Marc Basseng, who secured his place as a Phoenix Hero in the process.
The victory was undoubtedly the highlight of the 40-year-olds Phoenix Racing career: “That weekend was just unbelievable”, Basseng explains. “The team put in so much work over the 24 hours. The race was anything but a walk in the park, and we spent a long time fighting hard for the lead. But we never gave up and were rewarded with a famous win. Winning the biggest endurance race in the world for the first time was just incredible. And the party afterwards was almost even better.”
The German driver also races regularly on the Nürburgring away from the 24-hour race, quite often behind the wheel of the Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS. He has recorded a total of 26 wins around the Nordschleife in his VLN career, and was even crowned VLN Driver of the Year back in 2006. “I have raced many times for Phoenix, but the special relationship between me and the team has always been inextricably linked to the Nürburgring.”
A quick glance at the list of VLN records shows that there’s a great deal of truth behind Basseng’s sentiments. Basseng has recorded the third-highest number of wins, and is only four short of the overall record. Team Principal Ernst Moser knows exactly what he should be targeting next: “You have to get that record!” he says, laughing. “Maybe we should get together again and take on that challenge.” Basseng is obviously keen to take the record number of overall wins in the VLN: “Definitely! It’s always been a dream of mine and I would love to achieve it with Phoenix Racing. The series has become so professional, you can only consider a challenge like this with a real top team.”
Basseng sees the experience that runs through the whole team as a real advantage on the track: “I would say to every young driver who races for Ernst to try and absorb every single thing that is said to you. The team has been in this business for so long, and you can learn so much from them.” The former FIA GT1 World Champion has learned a great deal himself: “You need to be able to cope with pressure. But what stands out for me was the team spirit here, and the will to win. That’s what makes the team so special, then and now.”