After a well-earned victory last time out at the Nurburgring, BMW Motorsport has not time to rest on its laurels, with the “Circuit Park Zandvoort” setting the backdrop for the next exciting installment of the DTM series. Zandvoort is renowned for its holiday atmosphere for the fans, as well as providing a somewhat tricky layout, especially with the fine coastal sand and varying strong winds providing the drivers and teams with a stern challenge.
BMW’s Bruno Spengler comes into Round 7 with a fresh motivation to challenge series leader Gary Paffett even further, with the fight hotting up between the pair, divided by only 20 points, and with it all to play for. The 4.307-kilometre track is a circuit, truly made for a real driver, which incorporates a series of blind, fast corners, bumps and crests, which also has a perfect opportunity for overtaking on the main start/finish straight before the “Tarzan” corner, having provided action.
The track brings a fond memory for Spengler there last year, as he secured Pole Position, with the dusty circuit providing a welcome challenge to the Franco-Canadian, who is looking forward to a new challenge with BMW, and describes what is needed to really bring out the perfect lap: “Zandvoort requires a flowing driving style, but the many quick corners are not easy. Then you also have the wind and the sand blowing over the circuit. As such, the track conditions can change quite quickly. That makes it particularly difficult to find the perfect set-up.”
As with the majority of the tracks this season, Team RMG’s American driver, Joey Hand, has found that this has become regular throughout the year, but compares Zandvoort to another home track he knows incredibly well: “I got on a simulator in Sacramento and drove it a few days before I left home to get some practice in. It has a lot of fast corners and is similar to Road Atlanta – a circuit I know from the American Le Mans Series. Hopefully I will find my feet quickly in Zandvoort.”
Having raced there in the WTCC several years ago, Team RBM’s Andy Priaulx is hopeful of another improvement this time around at Zandvoort, as he knows the track well, and his experience may come in handy: “It will be a lot of fun in a DTM car and I am especially looking forward to turn five, as this is very fast and needs a lot of commitment. Also the track is sensitive to tyre strategy, so this will keep the team on its toes.”
Team Schnitzer’s Charly Lamm knows the pitfalls of the track, having been there before with several different race series, but always enjoys returning there, and is looking forward to the upcoming weekend: “We know the circuit from our time in the European Touring Car Championship in the 1970s. We also raced there in the FIA WTCC not all that long ago. The races there were always great and the crowds are very enthusiastic. Two DTM races in a week are obviously hard work. However, our team has a very good rhythm at the moment, so we are really looking forward to the weekend.”
BMW Motorsport Director, Jens Marquardt, still has further faith in the fact that the new BMW M3 DTM will once again show a constant upturn in its development, following on from last Sunday’s win: “Now we head straight to Zandvoort for the next race. The BMW M3 DTM has not been out on the track there yet. Despite this, I am confident we will find our feet quickly there. The success in the Eifel Mountains saw us take a step forward in the overall standings. We want to continue this trend on the North Sea coast.”
So with the new Munich V8 monster looking set to continue the battle at both its’ rivals doors this weekend at Zandvoort, it could be an exciting battle on track, as all 22 drivers give it full throttle on the sandy Dutch track, to see just who is ahead of all the rest.