Not many drivers can claim a second-place finish on their GT3 debut—Vincent Kolb can. The Phoenix Racing Junior driver only raced for one stint in the VLN ADAC ACAS H&R Cup, but during this time he held his own in the race to second place.
“This is amazing,” Kolb says.
The 23-year-old from Frankfurt praises team-mate Frank Stippler, who took charge of the Audi R8 LMS GT5 for three of the four stints to secure second place only in the closing laps of the 4-hour race.
“If you would’ve asked me this morning what position we’d get, I wouldn’t even dream of the podium, but thanks to Frank we did. He did an amazing job: he managed to get P2 and I’m very happy about that.”
VLN3 marked Kolb’s maiden GT3 outing. Although not yet on par with the veterans that set the pace at the front of the field, Kolb managed to hang on well as he often set times in the lower 8-minutes.
“It was amazing—I think it was one of the best stints I ever did. The car felt amazing. We had a lot of traffic, but still, the car, it’s… I have no words for it! It was such an amazing race! I’m glad how it ended up.”
After spending previous seasons honing his skills in the lower VLN classes, teaming up with gentleman drivers, Kolb went looking for the extra motivation in a professional outfit.
“I applied at Phoenix Racing when they opened their Junior Program for 2018. In February and March, we had the first tests in Portimão and Aragon where the car felt very good to me, so I decided to join the team. I’m very happy I did: the team is amazing and I’m very happy with them and the car, which is amazing to drive.
“The last couple of years was a good time for me to grown up and start competing, not just drive with gentleman drivers—the problem there is that the result in the end is often not that good.
“This year, with Frank, I think we’re an amazing team together. The pressure is on, but he’s also kind of a mentor to me. Especially here at the Ring and in VLN he knows everything, so it’s good to have him as a colleague.
“I think it’ll be a very exciting year. Now the expectations are very high! Second place in my first race—so I guess P1 is next… Maybe? We will see. There are four more races left for me in the R8.”