Familiarity lets engineers concentrate on what the car is doing, instead of the stopwatch
Testing at the Nurburgring is more important for allowing engineers to be able to tune cars without distractions than it is for setting fastest lap times, according to BMW’s driving dynamics boss Peter Langen.
Speaking in reference to the new BMW 3 Series, Z4 and 8 Series, all of which will launch this year, Langen said that he believes more benefit comes from his familiarity with the famed circuit than his ability to drive cars quickly around it.
“The key point is that it is long, challenging, has many surfaces and corner types, yet I know it well enough to be able to drive it with the capacity to concentrate 100% on what the car is doing,” he said.
“There is room for setting quickest lap times of course – it proves something and is a nice benchmark.” The brand recently revealed the upcoming Z4 roadster was faster around the famous circuit than an M2, and future M-badged performance models are regularly spotted undergoing high-speed testing.
“But for me, out on track, it is very rarely important to be the fastest driver out there. It is far more important that I am driving somewhere where I can put all my focus into what the car is doing.”
While admitting that the same could be said for any racetrack, Langen pointed out that decades of experience benchmarking cars at the ‘Ring, plus the quality and variety of local public roads, made it an ideal location: “We use it a lot, I know, but it offers challenges that meet our needs,” he said.
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