Joel Eriksson stepped up preparations for his rookie DTM campaign during BMW Motorsport’s annual pre-season training camp in Italy this week.
After finishing as runner-up in the 2017 FIA Formula 3 European Championship, Swede Eriksson joins the BMW works roster for an attack on Germany’s DTM championship this season. This week saw preparations intensify for the task in hand, as the Bavarian squad undertook rigorous fitness tests at the expert Formula Medicine clinic in Viareggio.
Spanning across five days, the training camp featured a packed agenda of physical and mental examinations. Traditional strength and cardio routines were mixed with more racing-specific concentration and reaction checks, all overseen by legendary Formula Medicine founder Dr. Riccardo Ceccarelli.
Specifically aimed at the BMW DTM programme, the camp saw Eriksson being joined by fellow drivers Timo Glock (GER), Augusto Farfus (BRA), Philipp Eng (AUT) and ex-DTM champions Bruno Spengler (CAN) and Marco Wittmann (GER).
“The fitness camp in Viareggio was very positive, not just because of the training but also for teambuilding reasons,” says Joel Eriksson. “I felt like a real member of the BMW DTM family for the first time, and growing as a team was a great experience. BMW do a lot for us and I feel this week has been a crucial part, really, in our preparations.”
Despite being the youngest of the BMW DTM drivers, Eriksson kept up pace with his more experienced colleagues throughout the camp and is looking forward to the year ahead.
“It’s impossible to race at this level without regular training throughout the year, so I do most of it at home in Sweden,” Eriksson concludes. “It’s only at a camp like this one, however, that I can actually compare myself to the others. We pushed each other hard, of course – that’s what racing drivers do! The toughest bit was running in the mountains for 2,5 hours, but it went well. It’s good to know that I’m at the required level physically as well as mentally as I continue to prepare for my rookie DTM season.”
At 19 years of age, Joel Eriksson will be the youngest driver on the DTM grid this season. He will also become the second-youngest driver ever to race for BMW in the championship; only Czech Vaclav Bervid was younger (by four months) when he debuted in 1992.
The DTM season kicks off at Hockenheim on May 4-6.