You can also drift with a BMW M3 Touring!

“You probably looked more through the side window than through the windshield,” a former motorsport boss laughed when I enthusiastically told him in the WEC paddock at Spa-Francorchamps about the taxi ride I had just taken with BMW works driver Robin Frijns.

And I actually experience the wild ride over the 7,004 kilometer long Ardennes course from pretty much every conceivable angle. Racing car ace Frijns puts us in a stable position for the first time in Les Combes, rows the steering wheel in a controlled manner and drifts spectacularly through the right-left passage after the long Kemmel straight.

BMW at the WEC race in Spa-Francorchamps
The sports equipment of choice in Spa: BMW M3 Touring Competition, photo:

There’s more going on in the touring BMW too

By the way, we’re not sitting here in the BMW M Hybrid V8 that Frijns shares with his teammates Rene Rast and Sheldon van der Linde in the World Endurance Championship. Instead, his Munich employer provided us with a metallic gray BMW M3 Touring in the Competition version for the taxi round. Yes, even with a 4.8 meter long Touring you can drift wonderfully, as Robin allowed me to experience first hand.

The M3 Touring has enough power for this anyway: The in-line 6-cylinder with its twin turbo pushes out 510 hp and, thanks to all-wheel drive or optionally rear-wheel drive, easily brings the power to the asphalt in Spa-Francorchamps. If from the outside the M3 Touring looks more like a car for big weekend shopping, the performance pushes me into the tight-fitting carbon bucket seat on the way from Eau Rouge up to Raidillon. No sign of ‘Knuffelen’ (Dutch for cuddle).

WEC, Spa-Francorchamps, #20, BMW-WRT, Sheldon van der Linde, Rast, Frijns
Robin Frijns with his BMW teammates Rene Rast and Sheldon van der Linde, photo: BMW M Motorsport

Raidillon, or also: blind trust in Robin Frijns

Up the mountain to Raidillon, you have to experience it yourself. In fact, Frijns chauffeurs me practically blind through this infamous passage after the Eau Rouge bend. Because of his always alert eyes – even if it may sometimes appear a little different on the outside – the Dutchman actually only sees the sky and a few treetops on the left side of the road, which can serve as orientation for the drivers. For me it was like being on a roller coaster, luckily without the free fall at the end.

I literally trust Frijns blindly in Raidillon – what other choice would I have in the passenger seat – also knowing that he knows Spa like the back of his hand. Frijns was born in Maastricht, 70 kilometers away, and lived in Belgium for a while. He has already driven on the traditional circuit with the GP2, where he took poles and podium places in the DTM as well as fourth place in the 24-hour race in 2021 with his former Audi and current BMW team WRT.

And “Robin has absolute control over his car, he doesn’t break anything,” I spontaneously remember the words of his former formula team boss Josef Kaufmann from 2013.

WEC, Spa-Francorchamps, #20, BMW-WRT, Sheldon van der Linde, Rast, Frijns
Frijns and Co. normally drive the BMW M Hybrid V8 in the WEC, Photo: LAT Images

Boy! Frijns has everything under control

So it’s no problem that Frijns is having fun – and mine – when he catches the BMW drifting over the curbs at the exit of the great Pouhon corner and a quiet ‘Woah’ escapes his lips. “Boy!” I think to myself in the best New Kids slang. Of course the racing professional and entrepreneur (Frijns Unlimited) everything is always under control, even if Robin is slightly surprised to discover after our round that the DSC program was more controllable than expected. Frijns still won the battle between man and technology.

During the full-throttle race from Stavelot via Blanchimont to the bus stop chicane, things are more fast than straight, and I can’t even imagine what an immense challenge Spa with the 680 hp BMW prototype represents for the drivers must. But at least I got a good impression. “Hartelijk thanks”, Robin Frijns!

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