Schladming, here we come! Building team spirit and fitness.
After eight races, 333 laps and 1,145 race kilometres, the second half of the 2016 DTM season commences in July. So it made eminent sense for the eight Mercedes-AMG DTM drivers to attend a training camp in Austria where they put the finishing touches to their preparations for the remaining five race weekends of the campaign. “The week was very tough but extremely enjoyable. It was a great experience,“ said Gary Paffett, looking back. “I went canyoning for the first time – that was a nice adrenaline rush!” Hiking in the mountains, a visit to the glacier and the Seethalerhütte, team sports such as football, basketball, beach volleyball and exercises to train the reflexes were also on the programme. “The weather was excellent, and we were covered in perspiration every day, but we laughed a lot too,” added Maximilian Götz. “We enjoyed a huge variety of sports from playing football together to climbing in the Klettergarten until we were all totally exhausted.” They will now have to try to maintain these levels of fitness status for the rest of the season.
“As a group, we’ve had really intense workouts punctuated by enjoyable leisure activities,” reports Paul di Resta. “It was great to be in the Alps, and to be doing sport in the fresh air.” Robert Wickens also enjoyed pushing – and being pushed by – his fellow Mercedes-AMG drivers to the limit. “The week was very hard,” says the Canadian. “Now I’m looking forward to relaxing over the weekend.”
Christian Vietoris took the opportunity to work off the frustrating experience of being taken out in a no-fault collision and losing the chance of winning the first race at the Norisring: “It was nice to get away for a while and to have something else to think about. The training was great fun and there were some great sessions. At times, it was extremely hard, but fortunately it always took place in fantastic locations.” For DTM rookie Esteban Ocon, training camp was a welcome opportunity to fine-tune his physical fitness. “This is very important, since we don’t have a lot of spare time during the season,” says the Frenchman. “So it was good to get back to some intensive training and to prepare ourselves for the rest of the season.”
But exercising in the gym was only part of the training week. “These past few days have been helpful in strengthening the bond between the drivers,” emphasises Di Resta. There isn’t much spare time in the drivers’ busy schedule for all of them to get together in one place away from the racing. “It’s always good when we all come together as a team and try our hand at different sporting activities,” says Ocon. Robert Wickens concurs: “We’ve been friends and team-mates all along, but now our relationship is even closer.” The idea behind the training camp is not only to boost team fitness but also to build team spirit. “Now it is time to get stuck into the second half of the year and to redouble our efforts,” says di Resta.
The race weekend at Zandvoort (15th - 17th July) marks the halfway point in the season. “I feel confident that we will be among the front-runners right up to the end,” asserts the 2010 DTM champion of 2010. “And one thing is clear – we are getting stronger.”