Under the Lid – Marc Basseng

News | June 22, 2021

There’s not much when it comes to GT racing that Marc Basseng hasn’t done. Debuting in Germany’s Porsche Carrera Cup and the Porsche Supercup in 1997, the Engelskirche-native made his first of seven starts at the Daytona 24 Hours in 1998. Admittedly, Marc wouldn’t made his second until 2006, though by then he was already a class winner at the Nürburgring 24 Hours and had secured the German Renault Clio Speed ​​Trophy as the driver-cum-team manager of Rs-Line Motorsport. By 2007, he’d added GT-class victory at Daytona to his list of accolades. 

 

In 2010, Marc, now a two-time class winner of the Spa 24 Hours and a race winner in ADAC GT Masters,began the first of three full seasons in the FIA GT1 World Championship, a championship he won outright with Markus Winkelhock in 2012 before transitioning to the World Touring Car Championship in 2013. Pro-Am championship honours await the German driver in the Blancpain Sprint Series in 2014 as well.

 

On top of this, Marc Basseng is no stranger to CREVENTIC either, having made his 24H SERIES debut in 2009 at the 24H DUBAI, an event at which he finished 2nd overall in 2014 with All-Inkl.com Münnich Motorsport. Now, after a four-year hiatus, the former GT1 World Champion is a 24H SERIES race winner with the brand new Haegeli by T2 Racing. 

Name?

“My name is Marc Basseng.”

Age? You can lie about that if you want…

“I am 42 years old. But I’ve heard that 42 is the new 22!”

Where and when was your first ever car race, and how old were you?

“My first car race was at the age of 16, in Formula BMW. That was a nice single seater car.”

What is the best moment of your racing career so far?

“Winning the FIA GT1 World Championship was definitely a great achievement. That was a really big success, not only as a driver, but because I was also the team manager. We [built] this team from scratch to a world championship in just three years, so I think that was a big achievement. And in the same year, I won the Nürburgring 24 Hours with Audi as a factory driver. That was a childhood dream to win that race at this super special track. 2012 was most definitely a good year!”

Apart from the Nürburgring, which is your favourite circuit and why?

“I think this is clearly Spa-Francorchamps, because Spa is a track where the driver still counts more than certain other tracks. I like circuits that challenge drivers. Modern Grand Prix circuits that are mainly made for Formula 1 cars maybe make it a bit easy sometimes for the GT cars. But Spa, you have a lot of runoff areas. But to be fast, you need to pull everything together.”

Describe the strangest thing that’s ever happened to you at a motor race …

“It was at a long-distance race, and we were practicing a lot to make the driver change as quick as possible, to be quicker with the tyres. But once, at one race, my teammate – he’s quite famous but I don’t want to say the name! – he was so tired, he fell out of the car, and just said, ‘do it yourself!’ So I had to buckle up the seatbelts by myself! But that was still a quick driver change. So, yeah, even sometimes the best drivers are exhausted after a long stint.” 

Describe your helmet design to us, and what it signifies…

“I can because at the moment it’s just black. But my normal helmet design was created at the age of 12 or 13, and I’ve never changed it. It’s just been modified a little bit.”

What is your greatest strength?

“I know a lot about the cars. I know how a team needs to run because of my experience as a team manager, and as a driver with several teams. And I know how important it is to work with the engineers and to be quick with the setup. These are so important in motorsport.”

If Hollywood made a movie about you, who would play you and why?

“That’s a difficult question, but I’d probably say Bruce Willis. He plays guys that are maybe underestimated – like John McClane in the first Die Hard – but in the end, we both make it!”

What would you like to achieve before retiring?

“I’d like to be the most successful driver around the Nordschleife in the VLN. So I need four more overall victories. Then I’d have 30, and I’d be on the same number as the most successful driver [Olaf Manthey]. One more than that would be a nice achievement.”

Tell us a random fact about yourself that your fans might not know…

“I’ve got a self-addiction to motorcycles. I started five years ago doing some motocross endurance racing, and for the first three and half years, I had to hide that because my factory contract didn’t allow me to do it! I have a lot of talent to drive a race car, but I have no talent to ride a motorcycle! But I enjoy it a lot. It’s good fitness training too.”

Finally, what do you enjoy most about competing in the 24H SERIES?

“I like the 24H SERIES very much because it’s still a mixture of amateur and professional teams and drivers. We’re here with Haegeli by T2 Racing, we’re a completely new team, and in a series like this, the level of competition is high! But still you can come, you can learn and we really enjoy being here because the atmosphere is so pleasant. We’ll see if we can come back in 2022 as well.”

Marc Basseng was speaking with Quinten Kentie and James Gent at the 2021 Hankook 12H MUGELLO. Images courtesy of Petr Frýba, Daimler AG and Audi.

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