One of the stories of the 42. DMV 4-Stunden-Rennen was Land Motorsport’s rise and fall. Connor De Phillippi did everything right in the opening hours of the second VLN race of the season. Having started from 21st on the grid after a little set-back in qualifying, the American drove the Land Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT3 all the way up to seventh place before handing over the steering wheel to Christopher Mies. Just when victory in VLN2 looked inevitable, Mies suddenly lost speed in the final kilometers, dashing a near-certain win.
“We crossed the finish line, just not in the position that we wanted to,” De Phillippi says. “We ended in fifth place. There was some type of fuel pickup problem on the last lap. By calculation we should still have fuel in, so we have to figure out what the issue is and focus ahead now and make sure it doesn’t happen during the 24 Hours [of the Nürburgring].”
After getting stuck in traffic during qualifying, the Audi had to line up 21st on the grid. From deep within the 30-plus GT3 field, De Phillippi started the push to the front.
“I was very happy with my two stints in the beginning. I went from P20 to inside the top 10, to seventh place. Compared to others, my pace was really good in both stints. The car was also great.”
Christopher Mies continued the climb in the final two hours, setting a blistering pace and taking no prisoners on his way to taking the lead on the last lap.
Part of the preparation for the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring during this race was choosing which tyre to chose. The team decided to go with the Dunlops for the weekend, a brand this season praised by those who have driven on them. De Phillippi found out during the race why.
“This was my first time driving on the Dunlop tyres and I think it showed that the endurance of the tyre is very good. It might be one of the reasons why Chris was so quick at the end: The Porsche and Haribo were both on Michelins and they were on those tyres for six or seven laps. We have found that with our car [on the Michelins], in general, around lap four or so, the performance drops quite big. I think that when you do a full stint like that, the Dunlop tends to perform a bit better, that’s probably where our advantage was at the end of the race.”
Having served mainly as a try-out for the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring that will take place next month, De Phillippi isn’t distraught by how the race unfolded.
“In general, we’re all happy. Obviously we’re still a bit frustrated with how it ended the way it did, but we’re all happy with the performance and the speed shows that we’re able to fight for the win, which is always an encouraging feeling.
“And like I said, now we just have to improve on a few things and do a better job next time.”