The only street race on the calendar, a fan favourite rooted in tradition, played out on BMW home soil: this weekend’s DTM round at the Norisring will have plenty going for it. The city of Nuremberg is ready for the latest edition of “Franconian Monaco” – and Joel Eriksson is charged up for his first dash between the barriers aboard the BMW M4 DTM.
“Norisring is definitely a special event and the track is right up there among my favourites,” says Joel Eriksson. “I’ve driven there twice in Formula 3, but this will be my first time coming here in DTM – which is obviously the main event and what most people come to watch. It was already a great experience racing in front of so many fans in Nuremberg in F3, so being part of the DTM this time around should be massive.”
At just 2.3 km, the Norisring – laid out on everyday roads close to Dutzendteich lake in southeast Nuremberg – is the shortest track on the calendar. The circuit winds its way around the extensive “Steintribüne” grandstand, where legions of fans gather each summer to capture the best views of the DTM’s annual blue-ribband event.
While the track layout may appear simple on paper, featuring just four corners, that should not detract from the real challenge the drivers actually face. Quite on the contrary, the Norisring’s unique nature makes it every bit as demanding as any regular track.
Twice per lap, Eriksson and his counterparts will have to slow down from 250 km/h to just 60 km/h as they navigate two tight hairpins, with both braking zones complicated by slippery painted traffic lines, off-camber gradients and a notoriously bumpy track surface.
Breaking up the two hairpins is the mid-lap “Schöller S”, a challenging right/left sweep demanding millimetre precision as the cars brush the unforgiving concrete wall that sits menacingly close on the exit.
Down to the final thousandth: extreme competition expected
The short lap times (the DTM record stands at 47.846s, set by BMW’s Bruno Spengler in 2017) also mean drivers will be racking up more laps at the Norisring than at any other event of the season, further bridging the gaps in what is already one of the most fiercely contested championships in motorsport.
“It’s going to be so incredibly, incredibly close this weekend,” says Joel Eriksson. “If you’re half a second off in qualifying, you’ll be at the back, simple as that. There really will be no room for error; you have to nail the lap 100 per cent if you want to be up there. It will be down to the final thousandth, and I think that’s how racing should be. I’m sure I will learn a lot as I try to reach that final limit in this field.”
Exemplifying the extreme proximity that has come to denote the Norisring DTM meetings, last year’s two qualifying sessions saw pole position being sealed by a gap of just 0.005s and 0.004s respectively.
15 cars were covered by less than three tenths of a second.
Home soil for BMW
While an undisputed highlight for the DTM fraternity at large, the Norisring races are of extra significance to BMW in particular. Nuremberg is located just 160 km from the BMW headquarters in Munich, making this the proper home event for the marque – and Joel Eriksson, the youngest of the brand’s works drivers at 19, is eager to build on the points-finishes he’s scored at each of the first three rounds of his rookie season.
“Norisring is a special event for us,” Eriksson concludes. “Of course, we always do our best no matter where we race, but there will be plenty of guests this weekend and we obviously want to put on a good show for them. I will give it everything I’ve got, like always, and it would be fantastic if that could translate into a strong result here.”
BMW bagged both pole positions and both race wins at the Norisring last season.
Joel Eriksson will turn his first DTM laps of Nuremberg’s famous street track in opening free practice on Friday afternoon. The two qualifying sessions and races take place on Saturday and Sunday.
All times local (GMT+02:00)
DTM | Round 4
Friday 22 June
Free Practice 1: 16.30-17.00
Saturday 23 June
Free Practice 2: 08.30-09.00
Qualifying 1: 10.20-10.40
Race 1: 13.30-14.30
Sunday 24 June
Free Practice 3: 08.30-09.00
Qualifying 2: 11.10-11.30
Race 2: 13.30-14.30
CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (top five)
DTM | After 6/20 races
1: Timo Glock (GER), BMW, 90 p.
2: Gary Paffett (GBR), Mercedes, 79 p.
3: Paul Di Resta (GBR), Mercedes, 67 p.
4: Lucas Auer (AUT), Mercedes, 55 p.
5: Marco Wittmann (GER), BMW, 51 p.
10: Joel Eriksson (SWE), BMW, 23 p.
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