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.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.