Schumachers – Racing With Doors & A Roof?
It has been a freezing day at Monza today, with temperatures never reaching 2°C, but the snow of the last few days was not a threat – writes Gabriele Tosi.

The first surprise was the presence of Ralf Schumacher, for the Schnitzer BMW test: the second surprise, there were two BMW M3 GTRs!! The older car ran in the ‘Ring 24 Hours, the other one is brand new.

Dirk and Jorg Muller were down to carry out most of the work. Both will test the GTR and the 320 Supertouring: today Dirk did almost all the work in the 320 while Jorg was in a GTR.

The two GTRs were shaken down at Hockenheim last week, so today was set aside to check that all the systems work. In the cold temperatures, no meaningful times were set, and stints were never longer than 10 laps, with best times in the 1:50 to 1:53 bracket.

dailysportscar.comJorg Muller told me that the tyres they are using are intended for temperatures well over 40°C…they can generate some heat but the grip is absolutely zero, and Jorg therefore had a little moment at the exit of the Ascari near midday.

Tomorrow, depending a lot on the weather (some snow has been predicted), Dirk will continue with the 320 with Jorg in the GTR, then they will change over on Friday, the last day of test.
Jorg explained that the new car is basically the same as last year, but efforts have been concentrated on reliability. Seeing the car at the Roggia and through the Ascari it seems very well balanced but perhaps too hard in setup…but of course it sounds very, very good!

When Ralf Schumacher took his turn, he was very aggressive, taking a lot of kerb, and looked to be enjoying every lap. This one-off test was the result of a promise made by Dr. Mario Theissen back in December, when he offered the younger Schumacher a drive in the GTR. The Williams team was testing at Imola, so Schumacher (below) was close at hand.

The GTRs will, as expected, race in the 24 hour events at the Nurburgring and Spa.

More tomorrow, including details of Alex Zanardi’s testing with a 320.

And the heading – ‘Schumachers – Racing With Doors’? Well, slightly misleading, because as far as we know, Ralf has no intention of racing an M3 GTR, while his brother…… well, more than once now we’ve heard the suggestion here in Italy that Michael and his Ferrari F1 partner are being lined up to race the Maserati MCC GT car. Too far fetched to be true? Who knows?


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