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Profile of Joel Eriksson: “I like challenges – the bigger, the better.”

Munich – WEBWIRE
Hungaroring (HUN), Joel Eriksson (SWE), BMW Motorsport Junior
Hungaroring (HUN), Joel Eriksson (SWE), BMW Motorsport Junior

Joel Eriksson (SWE) joins Philipp Eng (AUT) as one of two newcomers in the BMW driver line-up for the 2018 DTM season. He is making the step up from BMW Motorsport Junior to works driver. At 19 years of age, he is the second youngest BMW driver ever to have raced in the DTM. A profile of the Swede:

When the DTM season gets underway with the opening race at Hockenheim (GER) on 6th May 2018, BMW Team RBM driver Eriksson will be exactly 19 years and 10 months old, making him the youngest BMW driver since the Munich-based manufacturer returned to the DTM in 2012. In the complete history of the DTM, only one BMW driver made his debut at a younger age than Eriksson: Czech driver Vaclav Bervid was four months younger than the Swede when he made his debut in the BMW M3, before going on to contest both the 1992 and 1993 seasons.

Eriksson’s potential became apparent early in his career. After many successes on the karting circuit in his native Sweden, he entered the ADAC Formula Masters for the first time in 2014, aged 15, and took just four races to record his first win. The following year, he finished runner-up in the ADAC Formula 4 series, with seven race wins to his name. In 2016, Eriksson won the prestigious “Masters of Formula 3” at Zandvoort (NED) whilst contesting his first season in Formula 3 – a year that he ended as the top rookie.

In the same season, he was accepted onto the BMW Motorsport Junior programme, which included Eriksson taking part in the DTM Young Driver Tests and driving the BMW M4 DTM Race Taxi at several race weekends. That gave him valuable insights into the daily work of the drivers and teams in the DTM.

At the same time, Eriksson was in title contention for long periods of his second season in Formula 3. He won seven races and ultimately finished runner-up in the championship.

Ten statements from Joel Eriksson.

Competing for BMW in the DTM means to me… 

“…a dream come true. My goal has always been to race in the DTM at some point in my career, so it feels absolutely amazing!”

The toughest challenge in the DTM will be…

“…to learn all the new things, the car and everything around that. However, I like challenges: the bigger, the better!”

I’m particularly looking forward to…

“…the first race… I can’t wait to be sat in the car on the grid looking at those starting lights. I am also looking forward to starting to work with BMW full time now. I’ve been working with them for around one and a half years, but only as a Junior driver and reserve driver.”

I like the BMW M4 DTM because…

“…for a “touring car” kind of car, it is so fast in the corners. It feels like sitting in an F3 car but just with a roof over me. It’s just amazing how they have been able to build a car like that. I’m really impressed by it.”

In my first year in the DTM, I want to…

“…win the championship. It’s a big goal, but why aim for anything less? It’s going to be tough but, as I said before, I like challenges and I’m ready to do anything to achieve that. The good thing is that I’m surrounded by such good drivers, so I could and will learn a lot from them.”

Having a former DTM champion as my team-mate will be…

“…great. I can only see good things with that. It feels good for me to have such a good driver as him beside me, because there will be a lot of things to learn from him and it makes it much easier for me to understand everything much quicker.”

My favourite circuit on the DTM calendar is… (and why)

“…Red Bull Ring, without any doubt. It has been my favourite track since the first lap I did on it. It’s a track that has a bit of everything - you have high-speed corners, low-speed corners and combined corners. It has more or less everything that I like. Also, the view around the track while driving is amazing. I just love the track and everything about it!”

The most important thing I learned on the BMW Motorsport Junior Programme is…

“…how to work as a professional racing driver. I also learned a lot about how to work with a racing car and how to be quick in it. I’ve learned a lot about the media as well, how to do the media work in the best way, and it has been very useful to me. It’s something we’ve always taken seriously, trying to provide a good media service, but I learned what is required from me personally from a manufacturer’s point of view. There have been many good things about the Junior programme, which have been very helpful for me in my career.”

Sweden is producing so many good racing drivers because…

“…to be honest, I’ve got no idea!”

My role model when I was a kid was…

“…Kimi Räikkönen, and it has always been. I like the way he drives and how calm he is. We have many things in common, Kimi and I.” 

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