BMW DTM driver Bruno Spengler spent his last bit of free time before the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona catching up on one of his main hobbies – namely Biathlon and Cross country skiing.
Before heading to Florida for what will be his first ever 24 hour race, the Canadian visited the IBU Biathlon World Cup in Germany where he had expert training from former top German biathlete Franz Fischer who gave him skiing – and shooting – tips.
While skiing and shooting may not seem the best preparation for an endurance race, the 2012 DTM champion can see direct parallels: “Biathlon is the perfect sport for me to keep fit in the winter, ahead of the forthcoming DTM season. Skiing uses every muscle and improves your stamina.
“The shooting helps you to maintain your concentration, even when your pulse is going crazy. Both stamina and concentration are vitally important when it comes to getting through an energy-sapping DTM race.”
The end of a days skiing and shooting saw the driver meet with Norwegian biathlon legend Ole Einar Bjørndalen, one of Spengler’s idols: “Meeting Ole Einar Bjørndalen, in particular, made the day an amazing experience for me. I am a big fan of his, and regularly watch his races on television. It is impossible to describe in words what he has achieved.”
Now though, Tuesday sees a flight across the Atlantic and join up with BMW Team RLL to prepare for the opening round of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
He said: “I have never driven in a 24-hour race – except in a kart. The preparation test a week ago gave me the opportunity to tackle the Daytona International Speedway at the wheel of the BMW Z4 GTLM for the first time. It was great fun, but is very different to sitting in a DTM car.
“However, the guys at BMW Team RLL made it easy for me to find my feet quickly in the BMW Z4 GTLM. I am now very comfortable with the car. The amount of traffic at a 24-hour race is also new to me. Furthermore, I have never raced at night.
“All this makes Daytona a real challenge for me. However, we are well prepared and have a great squad of drivers. Despite this, it is hard for me to say what to expect. Maybe we can discuss that 20 hours into the race.”