Before entering motorsport, Ellis was playing ice hockey for ten years in his youth. “I was a forward in the junior team of EV Zug because I wasn’t tall enough for the center and defense positions,” says the sportsman who, being 1.74 meters tall, has an ideal physique for a race driver. Following private practice days in a single-seater race car, the budding driver entered motorsport in 2011 with no racing experience under his belt whatsoever and went on to win the Swiss LO Formula Lista. A year later, his career took him into the Formula 3 Euro Series. “Unfortunately, that was less than perfect,” he admits in retrospect. Afterwards, the talent’s activities subsided. “I don’t come from a family of racers and had no contacts allowing me to continue.” Instead, he focused on his studies of international management, currently enrolled in his fifth semester at Lucerne University of Applied Sciences.
When Ellis met race driver Levin Amweg who was contesting the first season in the Audi Sport TT Cup the Swiss recommended the one-make cup to him as an opportunity to resume motor racing. “I learned a lot in my first season, in 2016,” the new champion says looking back. “I analyzed every weekend in detail, watching onboard footage and looking at data, and going through the races lap by lap.” One of the keys to success: the tires from partner Hankook. “You have to warm them up well. The pressure is crucial because it changes during the race when the tires warm up.” The up and coming driver uses the possibilities of the virtual world as a complement. “I’d often spend several hours a day trying out various track racing lines in the simulator just for fun while simultaneously watching onboard footage from qualifying sessions of the 2016 season to give me an impression of maximum realism.”
But there was more involved than just controlling the car. “Philip is clever enough to be able to read racing situations and to soft-pedal now and then,” says three-time Le Mans winner Marco Werner who assists all the juniors as an instructor. He rarely made mistakes and only retired once due to his own fault. In eleven of 13 rounds, he mounted the podium and a 24-point advantage was a clear result.
His goal: “Obviously, I’d like to become a pro in the long run,” says Philip Ellis. “With Audi I revived my career. Thanks to the promotional package, I now have an opportunity to move up into GT racing with this brand. I’m already excited to see what the 2018 has in store for me.”