BMW are preapring for one of the toughest races of their return to the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters this weekend as they head to Nürnberg for the Norisring street race.
Although BMW have been victorious at the circuit five times in the past, claiming victories during the 1980s and 1990s, the German manufacturer has no test data prior to this weekend’s event due to the venue’s nature as a street circuit.
“The race at the Norisring is traditionally one of the absolute highlights of the DTM season,” explained BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt. “This circuit is special for a number of reasons. We have absolutely no past data and the track’s characteristics and low level of grip will present our teams and drivers with a completely new challenge.”
Marquardt also explained that BMW Team RMG driver Joey Hand will receive a new chassis for this weekend’s event after his old one caught fire during a test session at the Lausitzring last week. Hand was not at the wheel of the car as test driver Marco Wittmann participated at the test.
“BMW Team RMG has had to assemble a different chassis for the outing at the Norisring, following an incident at our test session,” continued Marquardt. “This has not affected our preparations for the race. The car in question developed a leak in the fuel supply during the roll-out. The escaping fuel then ignited in the exhaust. Although some parts of the car can be reused, the chassis itself is no longer suitable for use in a race situation.”
BMW have thus far enjoyed a successful return to the DTM, with Canadian Bruno Spengler the leading BMW driver in 4th in the championship, having taken a win at the Lausitzring. Spengler has fond memories of the Nuremberg circuit, having first stood on the top step of the podium at the track in 2006.
“I claimed my first DTM victory at the Norisring in 2006 and I just really like the circuit,” said Spengler. “I have won there on three occasions and have always ended up on the podium. I really enjoy braking hard and late. It is not easy to find the ideal line, although there are only a few corners. The atmosphere is just great. It is my very favourite circuit.”
Reigning champion Martin Tomczyk sits just behind Spengler in 5th in the championship and is aiming for a top three result in this year’s race.
“After last year’s unforgettable, rain-dominated race, I am already really looking forward to seeing what surprises the Norisring has in store for us this year,” said Tomczyk. “It is always a major challenge to drive on this fascinating street circuit with its two hairpins. In 2011 I managed to climb from tenth on the grid to third place by the end of the race. It would be great to be back on the podium again this year.”
Brazilian Augusto Farfus is enjoying the strongest start to the season of BMW’s DTM rookies and the former World Touring Car Championship racer is currently equal 9th in the championship.
“All of us BMW guys except Bruno and Martin will be starting from scratch again at the Norisring,” explained Farfus. “I am still optimistic as I love street circuits and I have won on all the street circuits I have raced on so far. I have never been there but I have watched some films of crazy races there. I am really happy we are going there and looking forward to discovering this unique circuit.”
Brit Andy Priaulx echoed his BMW Team RBM team-mates comments, admitting that he enjoys street circuits above any other type of race track. Indeed of Priaulx’s 18 WTCC wins, 5 came on street circuits.
“Norisring is a legendary track and I can’t wait to see it for myself,” said Priaulx. “I have an affinity with street circuits and just love them. I have had some of my most exciting and successful races on street circuits and so it would be great for me to keep this tradition up there. We aim to put on a good show for the fans.”
First practice for the DTM around the Norisring takes place at 1320 Berlin time on Friday 29th June 2012.