At the moment, however, Marko is on a break. The next group of test candidates is currently exploring the racetrack in the series GTI. It is an opportunity for the newly arrived drivers to familiarise themselves with the circuit. It also gives the instructors a chance to show them the track's pitfalls.
There are quite a few of these, not least on the first banked 180-degree bend: ‘Remember that this here is a real racing car,' warns racing pro Leuchter. That means no ABS and no ESP. By implication, ‘If the wheels lock as a result of taking the bend too quickly, the gearbox will get in a real state, because it no longer receives information from the sensors, and the engine may die.'
The engineers are quickly on the scene
Suddenly, there is a commotion in the pit lane. One of the two test cars is a long time coming and the situation is unclear. ‘We need the safety car,' squawks the voice on Marko's walkie-talkie. Tense moments. Some news finally comes over the pit radio. ‘Yes. Marko receiving,' says the pit manager, tight-lipped. Then a look of relief spreads across his face: ‘The car is down the racetrack and currently on its way back to the pit. Don't worry. Everything is OK.'
It is a case for the six-man crew of engineers and mechanics. They are actually here to use the track time for tuning runs and to make sure that the 2018 Golf GTI is fit for the coming TCR season.
Now they are quickly on the scene and happy to help, with Eike Hennies leading the way. The data engineer has connected his laptop and is evaluating the on-board data via the interface. ‘It looks like a problem with the electronics,' says Hennies.