Team Headquarters in Meuspath, just three kilometres from the circuit in the EifelNicolaj Møller Madsen is Markus Winkelhock's new team-mate
Phoenix Racing are contesting their third full season in the ADAC GT Masters in 2016. The outfit led by team principal Ernst Moser secured five wins from 2009 to 2011 but have never won at the Nürburgring, the Audi team's home track. They will have another try with a different squad of drivers during the fifth meeting of seven in this season's Super Sports Car League at the weekend (5th - 7th August). Nicolaj Møller Madsen (23, DK) will be the new partner of regular driver Markus Winkelhock (36, DEU) in the Audi R8. Meuspath has a village hall, a fire station run by volunteers and 140 inhabitants. However, an unusually high number of motor racing teams have also taken up residence in the small village near Adenau. The business park is host to more than a handful. The reason is the proximity to the Nürburgring, Germany's most famous racetrack. Phoenix Racing are one of these teams. Their headquarters are just three kilometres from the main entrance to the Eifel circuit. "It's really special every time we line up at the Nürburgring," said Ernst Moser. "Friends, family and sponsors pay us special attention. We are always highly motivated and look forward to being there." A familiar environment, die-hard fans, home race atmosphere - the range of things in their favour is enormous, but Phoenix Racing enjoy a huge advantage in terms of logistics especially. Moser: "If we forget something, then someone from the team pops back to base and fetches it. However, it's also possible to transport extra catering equipment and merchandising products backwards and forwards as necessary, things we need to entertain guests in our VIP lounge and to equip our shop on the Boulevard." Some Phoenix team members can also enjoy a rare privilege. "Our guys are away from home almost all year round, so they really appreciate being able to sleep at home during a Nürburgring event. Plus, there's a saving on hotel costs," said Moser. However, he sees no advantage as far as track time is concerned: "We have definitely contested more races at the Nürburgring than other teams and have collected more set-up data as a result. It's not possible, though, to fit in any extra testing, for example, because the track is fully booked practically throughout the year." Phoenix regular driver Markus Winkelhock knows the Nürburgring well mainly from contesting three ADAC GT Masters seasons and from winning the ADAC Zurich 24-hour race twice. "The Nürburgring has always been a favourite track of mine," said the veteran driver. "I've achieved decent results there in every series that I've competed in. I remember with particular fondness the laps I spent in the lead in Formula 1. I think that the track will suit our Audi better than, for example, the Red Bull Ring where we raced recently. I hope that we can be up there with the front-runners." Team principal Ernst Moser is also intent on securing a top-notch finish: "After finishing in the points three times early in the season, we've come away empty-handed several times just recently. We simply have to secure a podium here - and why not in our home race?" Newcomer Nicolaj Møller Madsen will help put their plan into action. "I'm really looking forward to lining up at the Nürburgring," said the Dane, who was second overall in the 2015 Audi Sport TT Cup and is competing in GT3 sport for the first time this year, 2016. "The Audi R8 generates plenty of downforce. That was the most important thing I had to learn. I got our engineer to explain exactly how the technology works. What happens when you adjust an anti-roll bar setting, for example. My team-mate, Markus Winkelhock, has a lot of experience. He can focus on getting our car's setup right, and I can concentrate on my driving, and that should help me. " Fans wishing to experience the ADAC GT Masters live at the racetrack can purchase tickets for all fixtures for the price of 20 euros, which includes access to the paddock, from www.adac.de/motorsport.