DTM champions want to rock the Nordschleife


Team Scherer PHX is fielding no fewer than four Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II cars in the ADAC TotalEnergies 24h Nürburgring, two of which even enjoy the accolade of an official Audi Sport Team. While Frederic Vervisch (BEL), Mattia Drudi (ITA), Ricardo Feller (SUI) and Dennis Lind (DEN) will be competing as defending champions in car number #1, a very special "boy group" will be turning the wheel in the sister car #40. Because the names of the drivers feel like a little trip back in time: Mike Rockenfeller, Timo Scheider (both Switzerland) and Martin Tomczyk (Kolbermoor) are celebrating a small "revival" here. Their Scherer PHX team emerged this year from the merger of the Phoenix team, which was accustomed to success, with the up-and-coming team from Scherer Sport. Rockenfeller, Scheider and Tomczyk are thus returning to the Nürburgring-Nordschleife under new auspices after a few years' break. "Mike came up with the idea and asked if we wanted to do something together," says Scheider, explaining how the project came about. The three racing icons are united by one characteristic: "We are all three DTM champions and have raced at Phoenix."

One team, three drivers, four DTM titles
All the drivers closely link their DTM history with Phoenix Racing. Rockenfeller secured the series title in 2013 together with the team from the Eifel. Martin Tomczyk surprised everyone in 2011 together with Phoenix Racing when he won the overall classification in a one-year car. The following year, the man from Rosenheim switched to BMW. Since this year, Tomczyk has now been team manager at Abt Sportsline. "For the 24h Qualifiers and the 24h Nürburgring, I have taken myself out of the operational business," he reports. "You can only do one thing 100 per cent. For me, this project has priority now."

Timo Scheider also competed in the DTM together with Phoenix. However, he secured his two titles in 2008 and 2009 together with Abt Sportsline. In return, he won the 24h Nürburgring together with Phoenix in 2003 - at that time still with Opel. Mike Rockenfeller also knows the feeling of being the overall winner on the podium at the 24h Nürburgring. However, he drove a Porsche in 2006. Tomczyk is still waiting for a success in the legendary Green Hell. He finished the 2021 24h race in second place.

Having fun with ambitions
With such a sporting CV, it is obvious that the three top pilots have set themselves ambitious goals for the mission. However, that could be difficult in 2023. "2021 was the last time I was on the Nordschleife in a VLN race," Rockenfeller told us at his start in the 24h Qualifiers. "But it's been a few years since I consciously remember taking part in a 24h race." Tomczyk also used the Qualifiers to get used to the Audi. "The switch from the BMW to the Audi is already big," he reports. "I haven't driven the Audi R8 yet either. But the car feels good and it gives confidence." Scheider last took part in a race on the Nordschleife four years ago.

The former DTM champions are supposed to be all about having fun, but they still can't quite get out of their skin. "We want to have fun and when we have fun we are probably fast," Scheider clarifies. "But we are still racing drivers and want to be successful. We could live well with a place in the top 10, top five would be great, a podium incredible." At the ADAC 24h Qualifiers, the trio were already well on their way: they finished the two-hour race on Saturday in fourth place and the 4h race on Sunday in ninth.