The DTM Young Drivers Test at Jerez this week saw BMW M Motorsport give the opportunity to four of their drivers to sample the BMW M4 DTM race car.
Taking part in the test was former BMW Motorsport Junior and future BMW works driver Mikkel Jensen, BMW works driver Nick Catsburg, Britain’s Nick Yelloly, and South African Sheldon van der Linde.
Yelloly, who narrowly missed out on the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup title this year, settled into the test easily, drawing on his previous high downforce single-seater knowledge.
“It was great fun to drive the BMW M4 DTM, I really enjoyed it,” said Yelloly. “A big thank you to BMW for giving me the opportunity.
Although the Brit had an idea of what the opportunity would bring, he was still impressed with the handling of the car.
“Considering the weight of the car, the high-speed in the corners is really fantastic. As I have driven high downforce cars before I knew what to expect but the BMW M4 DTM still impressed me a lot.”
BMW works driver Catsburg enjoyed the test but did reveal it took a while to get used to the higher downforce of the DTM car over his usual GT3 and GTE drives.
“It was definitely a lot of fun,” said Catsburg. “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 a really cool car – and that’s honestly true. A very cool car to drive.”
Sheldon van der Linde echoed Catsburg’s thoughts as he called upon the knowledge of DTM driver Philipp Eng, “It’s so different to what I am used to. I have only driven in GT3 before so it was a really big step in the beginning, but the engineers and everyone helped me a lot and Philipp also gave quite a few tips.
“What I liked most about the BMW M4 DTM is the downforce. It’s incredible and the speed you can enter the corners with is amazing.”
Mikkel Jensen had previous experience in the BMW M4 DTM from running the race taxi, despite this he was surprised to find how different the experience was driving the car in anger.
“I know the BMW M4 DTM as a race taxi, but to drive the real race car in a test on the track is something different. You think you could use your experience from the taxi but you have to put the car on the limit in a different way.
“You have to really fine-tune your driving style to be fast and there is always something you can find in every corner. That was really interesting. The carbon brakes are amazing, as they bite really hard. It was fantastic to feel how the car was stopping.
“And the high-speed corners: when you are used to GT cars, you think you sit in the same type of car. But the BMW M4 DTM just goes so much faster in the corner.”
With Philipp Eng, Joel Eriksson, Timo Glock, Bruno Spengler, and Marco Wittmann already confirmed for the 2019 season, BMW still has one seat left to fill and are expected to make an announcement in January.
While Catsburg took part in the test, it is unlikely he will be in contention for the drive with prior commitments in the FIA World Endurance Championship and the Nurburgring 24 Hours among other drives throughout the 2019 season.