BMW DTM teams enter uncharted territory this weekend (19th to 21st July), as the 2019 season reaches the halfway point: the fifth of nine race weekends will take place at ‘TT Circuit Assen’ (NED). This is a first for everyone, as the DTM is making its first appearance at the well-known Dutch racetrack.
Four race weekends into the season, Philipp Eng (AUT) is the best-placed BMW driver in third place in the Drivers’ Championship. The Austrian has 101 points to his name and is followed by Bruno Spengler (CAN / 76 points) and Marco Wittmann (GER / 72 points) in fourth and fifth place respectively. The BMW M4 DTM has won four of the eight races so far: Wittmann has twice taken his place on the top step of the podium, while Eng and Spengler have each enjoyed one race win. BMW has also claimed a further four podium finishes.
Motorsport enjoys a long tradition at Assen. The first motorcycle race was held there back in 1925. The races were initially held on public roads, before ‘TT Circuit Assen’ was opened in 1955. Also known as the “Cathedral of Speed”, the circuit is specially designed for motorcycles, but also hosts car races. The track has a flowing layout, on which the BMW M4 DTM can take full advantage of its turbo power. The circuit is known for its high speeds and a number of really quick corners. The fast track layout is interrupted by a hairpin.
Quotes ahead of the DTM races at Assen.
Jens Marquardt (BMW Group Motorsport Director):
“The ‘TT Circuit’ is a legendary and iconic motorcycle race track and we are delighted to be racing there with the DTM. The fast layout of the circuit makes power important – and our BMW M4 DTM, with its turbo engine, has plenty of that. We are confident that we will treat the Assen fans to some spectacular race action. Our goal for the weekend is to claim more victories and podium finishes, and to get our drivers back to the very top of the championship standings. Our BMW DTM teams will be doing their utmost to make this possible.”
Stefan Reinhold (Team Principal BMW Team RMG):
“After Zolder, we are now entering uncharted territory for the second time this season. Assen is a very interesting circuit in terms of the character of the track, and it will be important to find the perfect set-up for our BMW M4 DTM right from the first practice session. We want to build on our record of three wins so far this season, and all three drivers are looking forward to the challenge of getting to know a new circuit. We will work hard to make the Assen DTM premiere a successful weekend for us.”
Bruno Spengler (#7 BMW Bank M4 DTM, BMW Team RMG, Drivers’ standings: 4th, 76 points):
“I don’t know all that much about the circuit. I did three laps as a passenger at an event there a few weeks ago – but that is all I know of it. However, it is a very different track and is very fast. We will have to see how you can overtake, as there are several kinks, short straights and faster corners. I think driving there will be fun, as it will be demanding and we will have a really fast pace. I experienced the Dutch fans there at the MotoGP event – they were fantastic. I think they will create a great atmosphere. I am very much looking forward to coming to this new circuit with the DTM.”
Marco Wittmann (#11 Schaeffler BMW M4 DTM, BMW Team RMG, Drivers’ standings: 5th, 72 points):
“Assen is completely new territory for me. I have never driven there before, and BMW has never been there with the DTM. As such, there are still a lot of question marks. I am only familiar with the layout and am preparing using the simulator. However, I have never struggled at new tracks in the past. I am excited. A new circuit on the calendar is always a new challenge for a driver. I hope we can close the gap to the front-runners again there.”
Timo Glock (#16 BMW M4 DTM, BMW Team RMR, Drivers’ standings: 12th, 23 points):
“I am very excited about Assen. It is a circuit I have never been to before, and at which only a very few of us have driven in the past. I am intrigued to see what awaits us. I believe it is a very fast circuit. I’m looking forward to it. It is new territory for us – I hope we have some luck on our side this time at Assen and can have a trouble-free weekend.”
Bart Mampaey (Team Principal BMW Team RBM):
“Assen is obviously an iconic racetrack. It will be interesting to drive there with the BMW M4 DTM. We don’t know the circuit yet, but the layout promises to produce high-speed races. A lot was new for us at Zolder too, and we had a very successful weekend there. Our goal is to repeat that at Assen. It will be important to quickly familiarise ourselves with the features of the track and to find the right set-up. We are looking forward to this challenge.”
Philipp Eng (#25 ZF BMW M4 DTM, BMW Team RMR, Drivers’ standings: 3rd, 101 points):
“I am looking forward to Assen. I drove there in the ADAC GT Masters in 2011. The circuit is great fun and I can imagine it being even more fun in the BMW M4 DTM. I think overtaking should be possible there. Tyre management will be a big issue, as the tyres can be put under some extreme strain there. And let’s see what the Dutch weather gods have in store for us at the weekend.”
Sheldon van der Linde (#31 Shell BMW M4 DTM, BMW Team RBM, Drivers’ standings: 11th, 25 points):
“Assen is a completely new track for us. Obviously we will prepare in the sim at the team in Belgium. That will be good because we saw at Zolder, which was also a new track, that it helps quite a lot. I was able to get my first pole position there and was really competitive that weekend so I’m hoping for the same at Assen. I think that we’ve always had the pace, even if we struggled at Norisring. We’re always competitive and able to run at the front, it’s just that when we come to tracks like Norisring, that everyone knows so well, it takes a bit of time for me to get used to it and to be on the same level, so I think with Assen we can start performing earlier on and just have a good weekend.”
Joel Eriksson (#47 CATL BMW M4 DTM, BMW Team RBM, Drivers’ standings: 10th, 43 points):
“It’s going to be a completely new track for me. I did a track inspection there earlier this year. It looks pretty cool. I checked some on-board videos as well and it looks really fast and quite challenging because it has a lot flowing corners. Misano was a new track for me last year and I won there so that worked out pretty well. Zolder was a new track for me and I ended up on the podium, so we just need to stay really focused and work really hard on the preparation. Overall, I’m really excited to go there.”
Press release BMW Motorsport