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BMW's Spengler has "a lot to learn" in SUPER GT switch

DTM champion Bruno Spengler says he has "a lot to learn" as he takes on a partial SUPER GT season with BMW Team Studie this year.

#25 BMW Team RLL BMW M8 GTE, GTLM:  Bruno Spengler

Spengler was announced as one of three drivers in the Studie line-up for 2023 last month, the Canadian joining team regular Seiji Ara and newcomer Masataka Yanagida at the wheel of the #7 BMW M4 GT3.

At the time of the announcement, it was unclear exactly how many races Spengler would contest, but it has now been confirmed he will appear in five rounds this year, with Yanagida stepping in for the remaining three.

Spengler will divide his time between SUPER GT and the Italian GT series, where he will drive for BMW squad Ceccato Racing.

Speaking to Motorsport.com, the 39-year-old said that despite his wealth of experience in the DTM and various GT categories as a factory BMW driver, he faces a steep learning curve as he prepares for his SUPER GT debut in April.

"I’m super-excited to do five races in SUPER GT," said Spengler, who clarified he will contest the Okayama opener and the final four races of the season, starting with Suzuka in August.

"It’s all new to me, there are no tracks I already know, and I’m very happy to join Team Studie because I heard so many good things about them and I am already in contact with them. Even without meeting them, I already feel welcome as part of their family. 

"I’m really looking forward to this challenge in such a prestigious series. There is a lot to learn, especially the tracks, but SUPER GT is one of the greatest championships in the world, similar to the DTM when it was at its peak."

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Besides learning the tracks, Spengler says his other big learning curve in SUPER GT will come from using 'confidential' Michelin tyres as part of a tyre war, something he has no recent experience of.

"I heard the tyres are quite different because they are confidential tyres and there is tyre competition," he said. "This will be a challenge for me to adapt to this kind of tyre. But I also heard they are awesome, so I’m looking forward to it. 

"The last time I drove confidential tyres was probably in GTLM [in IMSA, 2020], so it’s a big challenge."

 

Spengler effectively takes the place of fellow BMW factory driver Augusto Farfus in the Studie line-up for 2023.

Brazilian driver Farfus had initially hoped to remain in SUPER GT with Studie for a second season, but in the end numerous date clashes with his other programmes in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and GT World Challenge Europe made a return impractical.

"I already let ‘Bob’ [Yasuaki Suzuki, team owner] down for some races last year, and I told him I wanted to be there full-time this year, because I think the team has a proper chance [to win]," Farfus told Motorsport.com. 

"But this programme came along [in IMSA], and we started to see the calendars, and there were at least two or three clashes. It didn’t feel right to start the year not giving him what he deserves.

"Then I helped Bruno to get the drive, because this programme is important for BMW and to have a factory driver there, it is a sign to the Japanese fans that we believe in the platform. 

"It’s sad, because last year it was my favourite programme, but you can’t have everything you want in life."

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