BMW and Audi took their DTM cars to the track for a four-day test session on the Nürburgring from June 8–11. It was the first time the cars had been on track since February.
The session was run with an infection protection plan to address coronavirus concerns. In one of its releases on the four-day session, DTM said, “To allow for the official test sessions at the Nürburgring to be held during the Covid-19 pandemic, a detailed and effective infection protection plan has been implemented. The most important rule: avoidable contact is to be circumvented as much as possible. To this end, defined zones are allocated to the organizations involved, such as the manufacturers Audi and BMW or tire supplier Hankook. Here, sub-zones are in place, for instance for the teams. The manufacturers and their hygiene delegate are responsible for these areas. In every zone, the regular hygiene rules apply; face masks are to be worn permanently.”
All six of BMW’s DTM drivers were on hand for the test days; new drivers Lucas Auer and Jonathan Aberdein were present along with returning drivers Marco Wittmann, Timo Glock, Philipp Eng, and Sheldon van der Linde.
The six drivers logged a total of 1,725 laps, or 6,260 kilometers (3,890 miles) of testing over the course of the four days. While lap times are not the main focus of the session, it is interesting to note that four Audis topped the time charts. The quickest BMW racer was fifth-place van der Linde. The 2020 DTM season that begins on August 1 and 2 at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium is the last for Audi; the marque is leaving the series at the end of the year.
BMW motorsport director Jens Marquardt said, “The past few months have been really difficult for all of us. This was a situation that no one among us has ever experienced before, neither in private nor in professional life. That is why it is great that all the safety measures have allowed us to return to the racetrack with the DTM tests at the Nürburgring. A big thank you to ITR for making this possible with their safety concept. Guaranteeing the safety and health of everyone is the top priority and the ITR and all participants have done a great job in that respect. It is fantastic to hear the sound of the engines again and to see how the drivers and teams are working—even though the way we work is very different to how it used to be, but we have got used to this very quickly. A certain normality is returning to proceedings, albeit a very different one. However, we are back and we are looking forward all the more to the start of the season at Spa-Francorchamps in August. We’ve still got some work to do beforehand but I think that we are on the right track. We are hoping to provide great race action on TV and streaming for the fans, who have also had to wait a long time.”
The entire 2020 DTM calendar appears here.—Brian Morgan
[Photo courtesy BMW Motorsport.]