Vincent Kolb is the latest star of the Phoenix Racing junior programme. Back in June, the 23-year-old took the wheel of the Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS for the first time in the third round of the VLN. Several months have passed and the youngster can look back on an exciting and successful year.
“I think I can be happy with my season,” Kolb says after his maiden VLN season racing GT3 machinery. “I was able to raise my performance from weekend to weekend and became quicker with every lap on the Nordschleife. It wasn’t easy moving to the GT3 car, but it worked out well.”
The Frankfurt-born youngster competed in the SP9 category alongside his experienced compatriot Frank Stippler and was soon celebrating his first major success in the series. “Second position in the third race was definitely the highlight of my season,” the Audi driver explains. “Not only was it my debut in the class, it was also my first race with Phoenix Racing and Frank Stippler. That was really special.”
With his almost unending expertise and vast experience, “Stippi” was a huge help for the youngster. The 43-year-old has celebrated countless successes around the ‘Ring over his long career and loves nothing more than to share his experience with the next generation of drivers. “Frank was always there to provide advice and guidance. His experience is extremely valuable to me, especially when it comes to overtaking. Other drivers are more aggressive, but I still prefer to hold back and overtake on the straights. Stippi’s tips in such situations are so beneficial.”
It’s no wonder that Kolb is so grateful for assistance around such a long and challenging circuit as the Nordschleife. However, besides successes on track, his main focal point at the moment is continuing to develop as a driver: “Of course the podium was the highlight of my year, but there were also a few minor but more personal successes, such as when I was able to improve my fastest lap times. For me this series is all about constantly learning and reducing the gap to the head of the field step by step.”
Kolb intends to build on this season’s successes next year and continue his involvement in the VLN. The 24 Hours Qualification Race and the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring are both on the young driver’s bucket list for 2019, too. “I’d love to continue with Phoenix Racing and Frank Stippler next year,” Kolb says. “We got on really well as a team and I keep in touch with Frank frequently away from the circuit. We’ve developed a really strong friendship.”
The junior driver also believes that his future lies in endurance racing looking further forward as well, with Kolb keen to compete in international 12-hour and 24-hour races: “There’s no doubt that sprint races such as in the ADAC GT Masters would be an interesting direction to take, but my focus is definitely on endurance racing. My dream would definitely be to race internationally one day.”