Corvette Racing crew chief, Dan Binks, is a great guy. Why? Because in 2007, he brought his son, Phil, who was just 13 years-old at the time, to Le Mans for the very first time. The team gladly put young Binks to work, and his career started to take shape from there.
At the ripe age of 16, Phil was being loaned out to various pit crews at the American Le Mans Series events, and that was a good thing. Now, it’s 2015, and Phil is 22 years-old. Where is he now? Phil is now working as a mechanic for the factory Nissan Motorsports GT-R LM NISMO LMP1-Hybrid program, just down pit lane from his father. We can imagine how proud Dan Binks is after unintentionally starting his son’s career by taking him to Le Mans at a very young age, and now they’re competing in the same prestigious race. What a feeling that must be.
“It wasn’t too long ago where he was here running tires and getting stuff going in the Corvette garage,” Dan told RACER. “Being part of a professional race team was my dream, and then it actually happened for me. And then it’s happened for Phil, which is pretty exciting for the whole family.”
“It’s been awesome, really…obviously, not your average childhood, by any means,” Phil said with a laugh. “It’s what I love to do and, fortunately, it’s worked out amazingly, really. I’ve been pretty fortunate to be… everybody at Corvette has allowed me to be around them and learn, I’ve been here for two Le Mans wins, which is just unbelievable in itself, not to mention all the other Sebrings and Petits.”
The great part about this story is that Phil’s father could’ve helped him out and got him on an LMP1 team, but he did it all by himself. Dan is also really supportive of his son’s team and helps out with the GT-R LM NISMO whenever he can. Although they’re competing in different classes, that rivalry vibe will always linger between the two.
“I want to race him as bad as he wants to race me,” Dan told RACER before pulling up a photo of the Nissan #EatSleepRaceRepeat branding he modified during the Le Mans Test Day. “He probably wants to beat me worse. And the day that he does beat us, if we ever race in the same class, I would be the proudest father on pit lane.”
“I still have some goals that I want to reach, but obviously I’ve only done this, you could say professionally, for five years,” Phil said. “I think I’ve done fairly well in those five years. Ending up as a chassis mechanic on a factory P1 team at 22 is a pretty solid achievement.”
We commend Phil on his awesome achievement, and also his father for starting him off at such a young age. It’s all about keeping it in the family and these two are the perfect example. Good luck to both teams in the 24 Hours of Le Mans!