The countdown is on: BMW Motorsport completes its final test before the DTM season-opener in Hockenheim.
Munich, 5th April 2012.With three weeks to go until the first race of the 2012 DTM season, BMW Motorsport has officially completed its test programme. From Monday to Thursday the three teams and their six drivers were hard at work at the Hockenheimring (DE), traditionally the venue of the opening round, which this year will get underway on 29th April 2012. This will be BMW’s first DTM race since 11th October 1992.
Over the last few days, all the BMW DTM drivers were in action. On Monday and Tuesday Martin Tomczyk (DE), Dirk Werner (DE) and Augusto Farfus (BR) took to the 4.574-kilometre track. Their respective team-mates, Joey Hand (US), Bruno Spengler (CA) and Andy Priaulx (GB), continued the test programme on Wednesday and Thursday.
On the morning of the third day Spengler had an accident. While the circuit was drying out he hit the wet kerb on the exit of the final corner, spun and clipped the wall with the rear of the car. Following repair work to the rear, he was able to re-join the action.
The BMW M3 DTM was given its roll-out at BMW’s own test site in Aschheim (DE) on 4th July 2011. A good nine months later, the newly developed car is ready for its first race in Hockenheim.
Jens Marquardt (BMW Motorsport Director): “The four-day test in Hockenheim saw us complete an important part of our intense preparations ahead of our DTM comeback. Since last summer, our teams have spent a lot of time on the track with the BMW M3 DTM, in order to gradually bring the car up to the level required to be competitive in the DTM. We are happy with the result and have achieved all the goals we set ourselves. However, we are well aware that our experienced DTM rivals have also been working hard. That is why I am excited about discovering the balance of power when we return to Hockenheim in three weeks’ time. Our goal remains to be competitive as quickly as possible. It is impossible to predict the degree to which this will be the case in the first race. The PR day on Monday gave fans and journalists the first opportunity to experience the new generation of DTM cars live – and the feedback was very positive. As such, I am confident that we will enjoy a unique atmosphere at the season-opener. Nobody in our team can wait for the moment on 29th April when the red starting light finally goes out and we can get to grips with our first DTM race for almost 20 years.”
Martin Tomczyk (BMW Team RMG): “It was great to be able to test in Hockenheim and to prepare for the first race in three weeks’ time. We tried to make optimal use of these four days, in order to gather as much data as possible. The task was obviously to find a good set-up, and we made good progress. There is no point in comparing times at the moment, because I am sure that nobody has put their cards on the table yet.”
Joey Hand (BMW Team RMG): “Driving at Hockenheim was nice. Before getting here, my only experience of the circuit was from playing video games. We were able to gain a lot of data. That means we should have a solid starting basis going into the first race weekend. We have a lot more work ahead of us before then, however.”
Bruno Spengler (BMW Team Schnitzer): “The last test before the first race was a positive one. Sure it was cool, but at least it stayed dry – apart from Wednesday morning. It would obviously have been nice to have a few more days of testing. I’m sure the other teams feel exactly the same, though. Everyone has given their all and tried to make the most of the time available.”
Dirk Werner (BMW Team Schnitzer): “We were able to drive a lot of kilometres and test important things, which have allowed us to take a step forward ahead of the DTM curtain-raiser. I am so looking forward to the start of the season and my first race in this series. We have all worked very hard. Now it is just a question of waiting to see how the car performs in a race situation.”
Andy Priaulx (BMW Team RBM): “It was great fun driving at Hockenheim for the first time since 2004. It is a quick track, and I had totally forgotten how unique the Motodrom is. With the first race in mind, we have made good progress with our car. However, we have to remain realistic. We have come a long way in a relatively short time – and we still have a long way to go. We have great respect for our experienced opposition.”
Augusto Farfus (BMW Team RBM): “I have a positive feeling after this test. We were able to complete a lot of laps, simulate various conditions and observe how the track developed over the course of the day. We took the DTM car out onto the track at Hockenheim for the first time, and learned a lot. I think we are well prepared for the first race. I am now looking forward to the start in three weeks.”
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