De Phillippi, Winkelhock, Mies, van der Linde. Photo: Audi Sport

Land Audi, with American De Phillippi in lineup, win Nürburgring 24

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American Connor De Phillippi has claimed arguably his biggest win yet on an international stage, as part of Audi Sport Team Land’s triumph Sunday in a chaotic and intense Nürburgring 24 Hours, as only the second American in the event’s history to do so (Boris Said in 2005 with BMW).

De Phillippi joined with Christopher Mies, his fellow co-champion in last year’s ADAC GT Masters, Audi veteran and ace Markus Winkelhock and Kelvin van der Linde to spring a surprise victory on the field after recovering from what appeared to be a victory-killing unscheduled pit stop in the 22nd hour thanks to a sensor problem on top of that also halted their progress, despite leading 125 laps.

But a late call to switch to rain tires with two laps to go on the full Nordschleife, so with more than 25-plus miles to go, proved an inspired one.

Photo: Audi Sport

As van der Linde regained the lead on the wet track, it brought the No. 29 Audi R8 LMS back to the front of the field. This is De Phillippi and van der Linde’s first Nürburgring win, the second for Mies and third for Winkelhock.

“As soon as I started checking my trusty little weather app, it started looking like there may be rain at the very end. So we put the rain tires in the tire warmers and I don’t want to say prayed for rain,  but we were prepared for it,” De Phillippi told Sportscar365’s James Newbold; a further Double Stint Podcast featuring a longer interview with him is linked here.

De Phillippi added to DailySportscar’s Stephen Kilbey, via RACER.com, “When you come to Europe, you’re off the map for most of the U.S. media and motorsport press. They don’t realize that there’s a lot of big races over here. To pull this off is by far the biggest accomplishment of my career.”

It’s a major accomplishment for the 24-year-old out of San Clemente, Calif., who was one of open-wheel racing’s more promising young drivers through 2012, and has since become one of the most successful Americans racing abroad in the five years since.

Nürburgring’s 24 Hours, for comparative purposes, is the GT3 equivalent of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. A grueling test of endurance, strength and determination at the incredibly difficult track, mastering it is one of the hardest things you can do and winning makes it extra special.

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”