TT Circuit Assen – “The Cathedral of Speed” – is one of the world’s most famed motorcycle venues. The longest-running host of MotoGP racing, the Dutch track this weekend swaps two wheels in favour of four as the DTM touring car series visits for the very first time – and BMW’s Joel Eriksson is determined to lend further weight to a specific statistic.
In his one and a half years of DTM racing, some of Eriksson’s best results have come at tracks that have been new to the championship calendar. His rookie campaign in 2018 saw the Swede claim an historic maiden victory at Misano – like Assen renowned for its MotoGP heritage – while earlier this year he scored a hard-fought podium at Zolder as the Belgian track too debuted on the DTM agenda.
Add another, fresh podium from the most recent round at the Norisring, and it’s easy to see why Eriksson is taking a buoyant mood into this weekend’s races in the Netherlands.
“Assen is a new circuit for me and I’m really looking forward to going there,” Joel Eriksson explains. “I’ve never driven it, although I did pay a visit earlier this year to inspect the track. I normally find it quite straightforward to learn a new place. 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 earlier this season and I ended up on the podium, so we just need to stay really focused and work hard on our preparations.”
The TT Circuit Assen is best summed up in just one word: fast. The lap contains several high-speed sections where Eriksson’s 600-bhp, turbocharged BMW M4 DTM can stretch its legs, while pre-event simulations suggest no less than four corners of the 4.542 km track will be negotiated at over 200 km/h.
Further emphasizing the speeds of the Cathedral, Assen also boasts the fastest turn on the entire DTM calendar: the mighty 265 km/h Ramshoekleft-hander at the end of the lap.
“It’s a fast track, for sure,” Joel Eriksson continues. “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 of flowing corners. I think the wind can play a part too. I’m really looking forward to trying it out in practice!”
Assen marks the halfway point in the 2019 DTM championship (round five out of nine).
On-track action gets underway on Friday, while Thursday features a city-centre festival where all DTM drivers will be on hand to sign autographs and pose for photos with the fans.
DTM | Round 5/9
TT Circuit Assen (the Netherlands)
Friday 19 July
Free Practice 1: 13.00-13.50
Free Practice2: 16.25-17.00
Saturday 20 July
Qualifying 1: 10.15-10.35
Race 1: 13.30-14.30
Sunday 21 July
Race 2: 13.30-14.30
CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (top five)
DTM | After 8/18 races
1: René Rast (GER), Audi, 127 p.
2: Nico Müller (SUI), Audi, 102 p.
3: Philipp Eng (AUT), BMW, 101 p.
4: Bruno Spengler (CAN), BMW, 76 p.
5: Marco Wittmann (GER), BMW, 72 p.
10: Joel Eriksson (SWE), BMW, 43 p.