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Young drivers impressed at BMW test in Jerez

Photo: BMW AG

Sunny skies surrounded the three-day Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) young driver test at Jerez de la Frontera, as four young drivers took to the 4.428km circuit, based in the Andalucia region of Spain.

Team RBM’s Tom Blomqvist, who took top rookie honours in his debut season in the series this year, was on hand to provide a reference point for Finland’s Jesse Krohn, Switzerland’s Louis Delétraz, along with Britain’s Alexander Sims and George Russell.

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Krohn, who has raced in both the European Le Mans Series (ELMS) with Marc VDS Racing, as well as Team Walkenhorst in the VLN Endurance Championship Nürburgring, said that having the opportunity to get behind the wheel of the M4 DTM was a “dream come true.”

“The DTM is the pinnacle of tin-top-racing; it is the highest class you can reach in a car with a roof over you,” said the 25-year-old, who was selected as BMW’s “Motorsport Junior of  the Year” in 2014.

“It was amazing – just as good as I expected, probably even better. The downforce was just amazing, as was the way you are able to enter all the quick corners flat without the car moving. That was mind blowing. This test was an awesome experience for me and the perfect ending to my best season so far in racing.”

Fellow BMW Motorsport Junior alumni Delétraz, who has raced in the VLN Championship, as well as the Formula Renault 2.0 and 3.5 series this year, joined the Munich manufacturer’s young driver program earlier this year.

The 18-year-old enjoyed his experience behind the wheel of the M4, saying that his “expectations had been been exceeded.”

“It has a lot of downforce, a lot of power and also the braking is impressive. I was surprised how quick it went into the corners – that was awesome. I am really happy that BMW Motorsport offered me this opportunity. It was a great end to the year.”

Sims, who is the most experienced driver that took part in the test, narrowly missed out on winning the British GT drivers’ title with Marco Attard. The Ecurie Ecosse pair were to be eventuall  denied title glory at the final round of the season.

The 29-year-old has been a well-known name in single seaters, having recently finished third in the 62nd running of the Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix. He admitted that it took time to adapt to the characteristics of the M4 DTM, but was impressive with how precise it is.

“I have heard a lot of good things about the BMW M4 DTM and it was fantastic to experience it myself. The car has a lot of aerodynamic downforce. It means that when you are braking and going into a corner you have to be very precise with the amount of braking pressure, and also the steering input.

“The amount of power the car has is awesome – as is the braking. With carbon brakes it slows down very quickly, and that was very impressive. Overall, it was a fantastic test.”

Fellow Brit George Russell, recently completed his first season in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, where Blomqvist competed until his graduation to the DTM.

The 17-year-old, who is a talent that has been recognized, classed his time behind the wheel of the car that 2011 Champion Martin Tomczyk normally frequents as “a great experience.”

“The test went really well and I enjoyed driving it. It was the first time I had experienced a tin-top with this much grip.  I especially liked the downforce – it was a great feeling being in such a big car, weighing so much and having this much grip.

“There are many similarities between a Formula 3 car and a DTM car. They both have a lot of downforce and impressive horse power, so for me as a Formula 3 driver it did not take long to adapt. Overall it has been a great experience to test the BMW M4 DTM.”

With the current line-up for BMW’s forthcoming campaign not yet revealed, there may be a further build on the continuity that the Munich manufacturer has had, as well as defending their constructors’ title in 2016.



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