Munich. 9 race weekends, three of them in Belgium: the 2020
DTM season is one thing of a house occasion for BMW Group RBM from
Belgium. This weekend’s opening spherical will happen at
Spa-Francorchamps (BEL), a racetrack of which Group Principal Bart
Mampaey has particular reminiscences. That’s adopted later within the season
by October’s double-header at Zolder (BEL), the place the crew loved
success with all three drivers final yr. 

 

In an interview, Mampaey talks concerning the 2020 DTM calendar with three
occasions in Belgium, his household and crew’s affiliation with
Spa-Francorchamps, which fits again a long time, the spectacular first
impression of the BMW M4 DTM at this iconic circuit, and his
expectations forward of the opening spherical and the remainder of the season.

 

Three of the 9 rounds of the 2020 DTM season are held in
Belgium. What does this imply to you?

 

Bart Mampaey: “That’s in fact a pleasant bonus for our crew. First of
all, we’ve to congratulate ITR and DTM for making it doable to
race this yr. And other than the particular necessities that we want
on the circuit it was additionally essential to have a calendar which is as
compact as doable. Compact additionally consists of that the races aren’t held
far-off from the groups to journey. And on this respect having three
rounds in Belgium is ideal for a Belgian crew like us. Added to
that, Spa is likely one of the finest circuits on the planet and Zolder proved
final yr that it’s a unbelievable monitor for DTM. It’s actually nice to
have them on the calendar.”

 

Particularly the venue of the season-opener, Spa-Francorchamps,
is a particular place for you, your loved ones and your crew. What does Spa
imply to BMW Group RBM?

 

Mampaey: “Spa is an important place within the historical past of my household
and the race crew which was previously Juma Racing, my father and
mom’s crew. We’ve nice reminiscences of the 24 Hours of Spa these
days, being very profitable there from 1977 to 1984 with three
victories and 5 second locations, all the time with BMW and all the time being the
finest positioned BMW. That was the primary a part of our historical past there. Then
there was most likely the largest RBM victory on the race when the crew
began in 1997 with a double win within the Group N class, adopted by
one other total victory in 1998. After which in fact Spa was additionally half
of the FIA ETCC and the FIA WTCC calendars and between 2002 and 2010
we had been profitable there with Andy Priaulx. So Spa certainly is a really
essential place for the crew, for the crew’s historical past and for my household.”

 

Now you’ll race there with the BMW M4 DTM. You
examined there at some point already, what did you study?

 

Mampaey: “To start with, it’s 9 years since we had been on monitor there
final time. In 2011 we did a take a look at with the BMW Z4 GT3 there so going
again there 9 years later with the DTM automobile was nice. The monitor was
damp to start with however when it was doable to place the slicks on, I
went right down to Eau Rouge and shot a few movies of how the automobile went
flat out by way of it, I believe from as early as lap three onwards and
that was very spectacular. The automobile with the downforce and many
energy as we’ve now in DTM, that’s unbelievable round that monitor. I
actually loved it. I additionally had three or 4 different spots the place I may
go to and watch the automobile going by way of the quick sequences of the
circuit. With the excessive mileage we did it was a profitable take a look at and we
are trying ahead to racing there. It’s going to most likely not be really easy,
I believe following one another, DRS and Push-to-Cross may even have a
huge affect, so the take a look at was essential to arrange the occasion as effectively
as doable. And from an emotional perspective it’s all the time good to
be again there, having reminiscences from a really younger age and now seeing
the DTM automobile there.”

 

What do you assume would be the greatest challenges for the DTM
automobile at Spa?

 

Mampaey: “We noticed on the take a look at that as a result of the automobile has a lot energy
and downforce, which makes it a unbelievable beast to drive across the
monitor, it additionally degrades the tyres in a short time. We have to discover the
right steadiness for this race-track and for the circumstances that we
will expertise at that weekend. And for positive there would be the
problem of following one another, utilizing what we’ve within the automobile with
DRS and Push-to-Cross in a means that we optimise the lap for qualifying
and for the race. What we discovered from the take a look at is that for positive the
tyre degradation over the gap of the race can be a problem and
we can be specializing in that.”

 

Then the opposite Belgian circuit on the calendar is Zolder. Final
yr, DTM returned to that historic monitor and it was an
unforgettable weekend for you…

 

Mampaey: “Sure, final yr it was the second spherical of the season. On
Saturday, we celebrated the primary victory with Philipp Eng. It was a
double-podium, with Joel Eriksson ending second. Then on Sunday we
had the pole place with Sheldon van der Linde and Philipp claimed
one other robust outcome with second on the rostrum. So it was certainly a
superb weekend for us. We simply should see how it will likely be this
yr. It’s a lot later within the season; it’s a double-header occasion in
October, so the circumstances can be fairly totally different, the
championship can be already in its last part then. We’ve to see
the place we’re at that second and hopefully we may be as profitable as
final yr.”

 

Does having three rounds in Belgium near your crew HQ at
Mechelen make logistics and every little thing a bit simpler for you?

 

Mampaey: “I believe the calendar can be an enormous problem by itself so
it’s good that we don’t should journey to this point, for the mechanics, for
the engineers and for the vans. It makes the difficult calendar a
little bit simpler. I believe that it’s going to assist us, additionally with the double
headers that we’ve on the Lausitzring, the Nürburgring and at
Zolder, however the season continues to be fairly distinctive and the logistics
can be fairly a problem. I count on that for the crew and the crew
members it will likely be one of many hardest seasons that we ever had, for a
very long time not realizing precisely once we begin after which to have 9 race
weekends inside three months. Will probably be very laborious and hopefully we
can decide to the championship and hopefully we can have a number of
drivers being on the rostrum so we get some constructive momentum with us
each time we journey again to Belgium, rebuild the automobile within the time we
have and go to the subsequent race ready as finest as we are able to.”

 

So what are the crew’s targets for the season?

 

Mampaey: “We wish to win the championship, so simple as that. We are going to
do our greatest to allow our three drivers to problem for the title
once we come to the finale at Hockenheim. That’s our objective.”

 

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