Earlybird, serial winner, full-fledged racer: Philipp Eng

Give yourself a gift. Staying true to his maxim, Philipp Eng presented himself with a gift: the most important title in Porsche’s one-make cups. In Austin (USA), the Austrian claimed the crown of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup. With this, the 25 year old has managed a feat that only two others have done before him: In a single season he has won both the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup and the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland. The only other racing drivers to do this in the history of the series were René Rast and Frank Stippler.

His accomplishment has not come out of the blue though: Eng has what is commonly called “petrol in his veins”. He is a through-and-through racing driver and even off the track his heart beats in time with a flat-six engine. Switching off is rare. When he is not driving for his Project 1 team, he’s out on his bike. “I do a lot of sport, but not just because I want to keep fit,” he says, and raves about his other great interest, cycle racing. In 2011, Eng took part in the “Trattberger Stier”, an Austrian cycle tour with gradients of up to 14 percent. Because an injury prevented him from training regularly, he says making it to the finish this year was the greatest moment off the track.

The native of Salzburg loves competition. He constantly strives to become better and is always looking for ways to improve. Eng has always been fast, as a glance at his resume underlines. Although the Austrian began racing at the age of eight, it has only been in the last two or so years that he has developed mental strength and resilience. “I’ve become calmer in the car,” he admits. His elaborate rituals before tackling a race have been discarded. “The only thing I still do is put on my right glove first, and only once I’m sitting in the car.”

In the meantime, he has also become more relaxed about his diet, and even sometimes treats himself to a good cheeseburger with sweet potato wedges – in moderation, of course. His whole mentality as a race driver is revealed in the question “early or late riser?” His unhesitating answer: “Early riser. The morning dictates your day. If you sleep an extra four hours every day, your week has only six days.”

Eng lives in a world in which thousandths of seconds count. One additional day a week represents eons, a realm that leaves his opponents in the here and now far behind. He moved into the lead of the series at round three in Spielberg and climbed the podium five times over the course of the season, twice as the winner. Position eight at Austin was enough for him to take home the title.

Perhaps Eng has used one of these extra “earlybird” days to read. He admits he hasn’t done this much since his high school days, but one book (aside from the series “Breaking Bad) grabbed his attention recently. Not surprisingly, it’s about motorsport. “Aussie Grit: My Formula One Journey” by Mark Webber. “I devoured that thing,” says Eng, and identified the Australian as one of his idols with whom he’d like to sit down and talk one day.

Webber has something Eng hankers for. The Australian represents Porsche in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) – very successfully. One day, Eng would like to drive such a prototype: “By winning the Supercup a dream has come true for me. I hope that in the long term another dream will come true for me as well. To sit in a cockpit as a works driver.”