Fitness camp in Schladming
Fit for the final push in the DTM. Following the start of the second half of the season last weekend at Zandvoort, the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport DTM drivers met up for the second fitness camp of the year in Schladming, 21st - 25th August.
Team captain Gary Paffett has already experienced many fitness camps during his almost 15 years in the DTM, the most recent one being at La Manga in Spain. Gary: “It was a great week. We had a good mix of hard work with some tough sessions and plenty of fun. It was great to be able to get to know one’s team-mates even better and to grow together as a team. We worked hard, but also had fun at the same time. That was important.”
The training programme ranged from individual sports such as tennis, cycling, golf and martial arts to team sports like football and beach volleyball, and special team-building activities that included white-water rafting and an adventure trip. “Schladming itself is fantastic and offers all sorts of possibilities,” said Maro Engel, singing the resort’s praises. “We were also lucky with the weather which was excellent.”
But nobody should let themselves be deceived by terms like ‘hiking’. “It always sounds so easy, but it was anything but,” said Maro with a chuckle. “It was a real struggle to get up the mountain. Real tough stuff. So it felt even better once we were at the top.” But it wasn’t just the hiking that the drivers enjoyed. “It was good fun going white-water rafting with team-mates,” added Robert Wickens. “That was a really nice activity.”
This was Edoardo Mortara’s second fitness training camp with team-mates. “It’s great to get together here, especially after such a tough weekend as the one at Zandvoort,” said Edoardo, who has settled well into the team. “We also took time out to analyse the first half of the season. It was super, and we had a good time together.”
Fitness tests were also a major focus of the programme apart from analysing, having fun and coming together as a team. Robert Wickens: “The fitness test at the start was hard, but it’s always nice to push yourself to the limit and see what you can do and find out whether you’ve improved since the fitness camp at La Manga back in early February.”
However, Lucas Auer’s week did not go without a hiccup. He had to miss the first half day, as he was unwell. Lucas: “I soon got better and was able to train with the guys. It was a great week, as always. Everything was cool.” Paul Di Resta could not be there, because of a clash of dates. The 2010 DTM champion was busy preparing for the upcoming Formula 1 race weekend in Belgium where he will be a test and reserve driver for Williams and TV pundit for Sky.
Still, both test and replacement drivers, Maximilian Günther and Daniel Juncadella, were involved as part of the team in Schladming. “They were really great days,” said Max, who is currently second overall in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship. “We had a lot of fun doing sport together. It brings you even closer together as a team. We’ve all had a chance to freshen up for the last few races, so that we can go all-out on the attack.”
Juncadella also enjoyed being back training again with his team-mates after taking part in previous years. Daniel: “It’s more a team building exercise. We all know each other fairly well and had a lot of fun as a result. The weather was also excellent, just perfect for a great training week.”
Head of Mercedes-AMG Motorsport DTM Ulrich Fritz: “It’s become something of a tradition for us to invite all our drivers to another fitness camp in the middle of the year. It means that they can train with each other and check their fitness, plus, it strengthens our team spirit, which is already very good, before we tackle the toughest part of the season. After the training week in Schladming, we can honestly say that our drivers are well equipped for the last three racing weekends of the season, which will really count.”