PressClub Canada · Article.
The wheels are turning again: BMW M Motorsport returns to the racetrack with four days of DTM testing.
12.06.2020 Press Release
BMW M Motorsport is back on the racetrack as the BMW DTM teams took part in the official ITR test days at the Nürburgring (GER) from Monday to Thursday. These had been scheduled to take place in mid-March but the global Coronavirus pandemic forced their postponement. Now it was time for the wheels of the BMW M4 DTMs to turn again.
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Nürburgring. BMW M Motorsport is back on the racetrack as the BMW DTM teams took part in the official ITR test days at the Nürburgring (GER) from Monday to Thursday. These had been scheduled to take place in mid-March but the global Coronavirus pandemic forced their postponement. Now it was time for the wheels of the BMW M4 DTMs to turn again. The six BMW DTM works drivers and their teams, BMW Team RBM and BMW Team RMG, had the opportunity to prepare for the start of the 2020 DTM season. To allow these tests to take place, a comprehensive hygiene concept was put in place to ensure the necessary safety of all participants in the paddock and on the circuit.
BMW M Motorsport had started preparations for 2020 by working on reliability over the winter. The progress made in this area had already been confirmed at the test at Vallelunga (ITA) in mid-February. The focus therefore shifted to the performance of the BMW M4 DTM at the Nürburgring. The test also gave the two new BMW DTM drivers Lucas Auer (AUT) and Jonathan Aberdein (RSA) the chance to familiarise themselves with the BMW M4 DTM. Together with Marco Wittmann (GER), Timo Glock (GER), Philipp Eng (AUT) and Sheldon van der Linde (RSA), they shared driving duties on the four days of testing.
In total, the six BMW DTM works drivers completed 1,725 laps or 6,260 kilometres of testing during the Nürburgring tests. The 2020 DTM season starts on 1st and 2nd August at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.
Reactions to the DTM tests at the Nürburgring:
Jens Marquardt (BMW Group Motorsport Director):
“The past few months have been really difficult for all of us. This was a situation that no one among us has ever experienced before, neither in private nor in professional life. That is why it is great that all the safety measures have allowed us to return to the racetrack with the DTM tests at the Nürburgring. A big thank you to ITR for making this possible with their safety concept. Guaranteeing the safety and health of everyone is the top priority and the ITR and all participants have done a great job in that respect. It is fantastic to hear the sound of the engines again and to see how the drivers and teams are working – even though the way we work is very different to how it used to be, but we have got used to this very quickly. A certain normality is returning to proceedings, albeit a very different one. However, we are back and we are looking forward all the more to the start of the season at Spa-Francorchamps in August. We’ve still got some work to do beforehand but I think that we are on the right track. We are hoping to provide great race action on TV and streaming for the fans, who have also had to wait a long time.”
Stefan Reinhold, Team Principal BMW Team RMG:
“It is superb that we have been able to return to the racetrack. We enjoyed it more and more as the testing progressed, as we could see how well we had prepared before coming here. We were able to make maximum use of the four days of testing and all three drivers were very pleased. Timo Glock and Marco Wittmann recorded some super-fast times and our new driver Lucas Auer felt right at home on day one. He is already working really well with his engineers. Of course, we have adapted our operating procedures to take the hygiene requirements into account but these regulations were necessary and good. We prepared carefully for these new measures, including new seating arrangements in the trucks and in the garage. The whole team deserves plenty of praise for implementing everything so well. From a sporting perspective, we feel that we have prepared well. We worked through plenty of testing points and we are ready for the first race.”
Bart Mampaey, Team Principal BMW Team RBM:
“Keeping everyone healthy is the most important thing and it was good to see that this hygiene concept allowed us to return to the racetrack. The rules and regulations were easy to implement and did not hamper our testing in any way. It’s been a long time since we were last at the track with our BMW M4 DTMs, so I am particularly pleased for the entire team that we are now able to return. The tests went excellently; we completed plenty of laps and made it through our programme well. It’s going to be interesting as we could see how close together the whole field is. We are ready and we are looking forward to the start of the season. It’s great that we have three race weekends in Belgium, and having Spa on the calendar is a personal highlight for me. We can hardly wait to make our appearance there.”
Marco Wittmann (#11 Schaeffler BMW M4 DTM, BMW Team RMG):
“It was great to finally be back in the car. This ITR test means that we can see light at the end of the tunnel again after this relatively long break, and now we are looking forward to the season-opener even more. Of course, there are new features for us to work with, such as having to wear masks, but I think we were able to implement everything very well. It was fantastic to get back on the racetrack with the BMW M4 DTM and complete some laps. We were able to work through a comprehensive test programme and prepare well for the season. I am very optimistic and I think that we took some important steps in the winter, which will help us progress. I am already excited about the season-opener in Spa-Francorchamps. We would like to put on a great show for the fans, even if they can’t be there in person. I am sure that we can entertain them on TV, as DTM racing has always been great and I think that it will be even better this year.”
Timo Glock (#16 iQOO BMW M4 DTM, BMW Team RMG):
“I was really looking forward to getting back into the car – especially in my BMW M4 DTM, as the design is just marvellous. We had some good test days here and worked through our programme really well. I am very pleased, it felt good and it was a productive test. Everything went perfectly. We had every type of weather too, and it even rained briefly as well. It was good to also be able to drive in the rain for a bit. I am happy and I am looking forward to the season-opener. Especially so, as we are starting the season in Spa-Francorchamps. This circuit is always special, and it will be a real highlight with the DTM car.”
Lucas Auer (#22 BMW Bank M4 DTM, BMW Team RMR):
“The test went really well. We drove plenty of kilometres and we collected a lot of data. For me, the first day was all about getting used to the DTM again. After that, we concentrated on what suits me and what doesn’t. The team and I are already working excellently together; it didn’t take us long to find our rhythm. I really like the BMW M4 DTM. Generally speaking, the DTM cars with the turbo engines have now more horsepower than I know from earlier years and they are great fun. Overall, the testing went well and now we have to build on that at Spa.”
Philipp Eng (#25 ZF BMW M4 DTM, BMW Team RBM):
“It was cool to be driving again. That was a successful test; we did plenty of homework and worked through our programme. Above all, it was marvellous to be back at the racetrack with a whiff of petrol in the air, and to see my team again. Thanks to everyone involved in working out the hygiene measures and ensuring that we were able to hold these test days at all. Now I feel like I am well prepared for the season-opener at Spa. Of course, we have to review and analyse the tests but I am very confident about the first race.”
Jonathan Aberdein (#27 CATL BMW M4 DTM, BMW Team RMR):
“It’s incredible to be back in the car after so long. I think everyone is thankful to be able to be at the race track again. The test has been very successful for us. We’ve made good steps on the car and for me personally, I just familiarised myself with the BMW M4 DTM pretty quickly. I love the BMW M4 DTM, I think it’s the coolest looking car on the grid and – most important – it is really great to drive. I am feeling confident and am looking forward to the first races.”
Sheldon van der Linde (#31 Shell BMW M4 DTM, BMW Team RBM):
“It has been a very positive test. I was able to complete a lot of laps on the two days I have been in action and of course I am very happy about that. The reliability seems to be a lot stronger than last year, the car is performing really well and the guys have done an amazing job over the winter. I feel super comfortable in the car and am very happy with my test days, especially with Wednesday when I was only missing on tenth of a second to the best time of the day. I am satisfied with my long run performances as well as with my short runs. Of course we will only see how competitive we are when we are having the first races of the season at Spa-Francorchamps but I am sure that the guys have done a great job so I am really confident.”