“I was somewhat sad when it was over”
In the 2018 season, Philipp Eng will be one of two DTM rookies representing the BMW camp. DTM.com talked with the Austrian about the impressions and experiences he gathered over the course of the manufacturer’s four-day fitness camp held in Italy at Capezzano Pianore near Viareggio and about what will be his tasks in the forthcoming tests at Vallelunga.
First of all, happy birthday – you turned 28…
Thank you very much. But from your 18th birthday you unfortunately just get older.
What is your conclusion following the fitness camp?
It wasn’t the first time that I participated in a camp at our team doc, Dr Riccardo Ceccarelli – but it was the first time in this constellation. Fitness is vital. We were tested in many areas, both physically and mentally. I could clearly see where I still have to up the ante to improve. But first of all it was of major importance that the entire team was there. We could get to know each other without pressure and slightly shake of the winter frost. I feel very well prepared. And I also got a better idea of how to adapt my fitness programme to be perfectly prepared for the season kick-off at Hockenheim.
At the circuit you basically are alone. Why is team building so important for racing drivers?
It goes without saying that every driver focuses on his own result. But a good harmony in the team is extremely important as it helps you to improve your collaboration. And you also can make some jokes to make sure that things don’t get too earnest.
As we were told, not only the muscles were trained but the abdominals too. Have you got a nice anecdote for us?
Well, I knew all the guys but it’s different if you belong to the inner circle. You always had to be careful with what you said you were zeroed in, otherwise. I pronounced the name of a trainer wrongly and this turned out to be the running gag throughout the week. But everybody had his turn and I really enjoyed it. And I was somewhat sad when it was over.
You said it was important to find out where you still have physical and mental weaknesses. Are you ready to disclose one of them?
I have been doing fitness training and motor racing for a long time. It always is interesting to make for new exercising stimuli and work in different directions. I, for instance, liked the mental training and the focusing exercises in particular. In the end it always is vital to extract those things from the offer that are most valuable for you. And I succeeded in doing so one hundred percent. At the beginning I had some difficulties with the colours. In this area it’s about the cooperation of the two halves of your brain. And in the case of racing drivers and sportsmen like us it also proved to be a major battle. That was really big fun. And I believe that you basically always can up the ante. My staying power is really good. In the past years I spent a lot of time on the saddle of a racing bicycle. Now it’s about slightly increasing the muscle size for Hockenheim. After all, the strains and stresses in the DTM cars are higher than what I have been accustomed to in the past.
You went in for different sports, in Italy. For you as Austrian climbing must have suited you far more than beach volleyball, didn’t it?
(laughs) Absolutely. I never will be a professional beach volleyball player while I’m often in the mountains, in Austria. That’s my strength.
Today your schedule features testing at Vallelunga...
I will be there to understand all the procedures and get to know the engineers better to perfectly prepare. I will spend my time next to the racetrack. That’s a very important part of my preparations. Last year I already raced for BMW Team Schnitzer that used to race in DTM. Therefore, I already was accustomed to the procedures. Nonetheless, being in the thick of it is something completely different. Therefore, I’m looking forward to witness it all at close range. I want to get to know my crew not only from a professional point of view but I also want to find out more about the personality of the staff members. In the occasionally somewhat frosty motor-racing world, putting the persons involved to the fore is important.