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BMW gives DTM rookies test chance in Jerez

Sam Bird BMW DTMBMW gave a quartet of rookies the chance to test its BMW M4 DTM car this week, with Brits Tom Blomqvist, Jack Harvey, Alex Lynn and Sam Bird getting a taste of the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters machinery in Spain.

Also in action during the three-day winter test were German Lucas Luhr, Dutchman Robin Frijns and New Zealander Richie Stanway, along with regular BMW DTM drivers Marco Wittmann, Augusto Farfus, Maxime Martin, Bruno Spengler, Timo Glock and António Félix da Costa.

The drivers were in action between Tuesday and Thursday at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit, enjoying sunny warm conditions as they completed a combined total of 1,735 laps and 7,683 kilometres of testing.

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With the new DTM calendar for 2015 featuring two races per weekend, the teams also practiced new procedures aimed at helping them to adapt to the new race formats.

All four Brits extolled the virtues of the high-tech DTM machinery, with Jack Harvey experiencing his first taste of racing in a car with a roof above his head.

“It was absolutely unbelievable,” said Harvey. “I have never driven a car with a roof before so this was a new experience for me and I really loved it. It is very different to what I did in the past but something I could get used to, for sure. I had a great time.

“I was very impressed by the braking efficiency of the BMW M4 DTM. I have never driven with carbon brakes before, and the braking efficiency was much more than I had expected. I just feel very privileged to be here, because I could think of a lot of other people who would also like to be here.

“I feel pretty proud to even be considered to participate in the test and I want to thank BMW and BMW Motorsport for giving me the chance. They have been incredible days.”

Blomqvist, who is the son of Swedish rally champion Stig Blomqvist, finished as runner-up to Esteban Ocon in the 2014 FIA European Formula 3 Championship and says the biggest challenge was adapting to the steering characteristics of the DTM car.

“In the beginning it took me some time to get used to the car,” said Blomqvist. “This season, I was driving in Formula 3, where the car is quite light and has no power-steering. So the biggest challenge was to get used to the weight and the power-steering of the BMW M4 DTM. But after some time on the track I had learned how I had to drive it and I had a lot of fun.”

Alex Lynn won the 2014 GP3 Series in 2014 and admits that the M4 DTM did not feel like a conventional touring car to drive.

“The BMW M4 DTM is an amazing car, and it has been a privilege to drive a car like that,” explained Lynn. “Compared to the other cars I have driven in my career so far it is really nice to drive a car which is built with the purpose to race against other manufacturers, with the attention to so many different details. The downforce is really impressive.

“Coming from single-seaters it honestly does not feel like you are driving a touring car. The grip is unbelievable, especially in the high-speed corners. And the braking capability as well is like from another planet. It was a fantastic day and I am really happy that I have been given the chance to drive a car like that.”

Like his compatriots, Sam Bird has also come from a single-seater background. The 27-year-old Brit has, however, also been involved in occasional GT racing and added that the BMW DTM car had much better performance than even the Ferrari he had campaigned in the World Endurance Championship on three occasions in 2014.

“This season I am doing Formula E, which is completely different to driving a BMW M4 DTM,” explained Bird. “You have to adapt to the car, as it requires a particular driving style. You need to be spot on.

“The downforce and the braking efficiency are very impressive. The only tin-top car I have driven before was a GT car, but the BMW M4 DTM has a lot more downforce and much better braking capabilities. It has been a really good experience, which I hope I can learn from.”

No times were published from the test.

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