BMW Testing – Monza – Day 2
dailysportscar.comAfter Ralf Schumacher having a try in the M3 GTR yesterday, who would be next? We’d heard the rumours that Gerhard Berger (right) would have a run, and sure enough, at 10.10 this morning, the Austrian was out onto the track – writes Gabriele Tosi.

“Just for fun,” was the chief press officer’s explanation. Next man in was Hans-Joachim Stuck.

A third one surprise was the appearance of an ‘old lady’, a 911 GT2 driven by Caligaris. This is an ex-Roock car (1995), and the chassis has “well over 40000km” under its belt… but with a fresh new white paint, it seems very new! A new motor has been installed but Caligaris told me that with the restrictors set at 32mm, it is pretty much impossible even to think of entering an FIA GT race.

dailysportscar.comBut anyway, the Porsche owner has purchased a Lucchini SR2 from the Siliprandi team with two “brand new” Alfa Romeo engines and he plans to enter three LMES races (Monza, Nurburgring and Spa) with his new toy, with Fabio Babini partnering him. The Porsche turned a lot of laps both in the morning and afternoon (with usually freezing temperatures, never above 3°C), and set a best lap of 1:55: at the end of this year, it will become part of his ‘collection’.

For BMW’s troops the morning turned out to be the most intensive part of the day, with a lot of laps from Berger and Stuck, and Dirk and Jorg Muller. In the late afternoon Dirk stepped into the GTR while Jorg stepped down to the 320 Touring.

Regarding the times, no official comments from Dirk or Jorg, and not much information…but Stuck (above) provided some interesting comments: first of all the GTR has ABS and traction control, and yesterday the Schnitzer team tested the systems independently, but not together. Today they tested both systems together, typically running short stints of five to seven laps. Hans also passed on the news that Michelin had brought some new tyres for today, which were generating much more heat and grip than yesterday’s.

Several different engine maps were tried, and the only problem seems to be that Hans ran out of fuel at the Ascari. The best time was apparently a 1:49.5, which was a slight improvement on last year’s best with the GTR, despite the bitter cold.

And finally for now - Alex Zanardi: he was present, and setting some very good times in his 320 Touring M3. Alex was 'full of business', and taking the test very seriously: he clocked the best time for the Touring 320 in 2:00.95, only half a second away from last year's Jorg Muller pole position and significantly faster than his team-mate, Antonio Garcia… Alex is very happy with the car and all the improvements he discovered, and he was a very relaxed man, but totally focused on the test. His magnetic personality is as strong as ever.


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