BMW Motorsport conducted three days of testing at the Circuito de Jerez in Spain to try out four drivers who are contenders for the one remaining open DTM seat and to continue development work on the new four-cylinder DTM car. The drivers are possible contenders for the seat vacated by Augusto Farfus, who is leaving DTM to focus on GT racing for BMW.
Participating in the test were:
• Works driver Nick Catsburg, from the Netherlands, who is one of the Team MTEK M8 GTE drivers in the World Endurance Cup series. He also drives an M6 GT3 in various endurance series.
• Mikkel Jensen from Denmark, who just completed his second year as a BMW Junior. Jensen co-drove an M6 GT3 with Timo Scheider in the ADAC GT Masters series in 2018
• Nick Yelloly, a British racer who competed with Rowe Racing in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup
• South African racer Sheldon van der Linde, who was runner-up in the ADAC GT Masters series and also finished on the podium in the 24 Hours of Spa, in both cases racing for Audi.
The four drivers ran a 2018 DTM car in the test. Catsburg said, “It was definitely a lot of fun. The big difference to the BMW M8 GTE and the BMW M6 GT3 I usually drive is the high-speed cornering. The downforce level is much higher and the braking was something I had to get used to. The BMW M4 DTM is a very impressive car, pretty much as I expected as I had already heard that it’s really cool car – and that’s honestly true. A very cool car to drive.”
BMW also used the test days to sort the new four-cylinder M4 DTM; both Marco Wittmann and Bruno Spengler drove the car.
Wittmann said, “Our job at the tests was to make progress with the development of the new car. One focus was on the new turbo engine; it is important to understand this better, and to fine-tune it, from test to test. The engineers, teams and we drivers obviously still have a lot of work ahead of us, to be well prepared going into the new season. After all, this is the start of a new era in the DTM. However, we are all excited and very much looking forward to it. More power is always cool for us drivers. The test at Jerez was another important step towards the new season and we have now all—drivers, mechanics, engineers—earned our Christmas. I would like to wish the fans, who can look forward to an exciting DTM season in 2019, a very merry Christmas.” —Brian Morgan