Ingolstadt -- Audi prepared its factory drivers from the DTM and sportscar programmes for the 2008 season at the traditional winter camp. The comprehensive winter programme in Ofterschwang, Bavaria, encouraged team "bonding" and the strategic ...
Ingolstadt -- Audi prepared its factory drivers from the DTM and sportscar programmes for the 2008 season at the traditional winter camp. The comprehensive winter programme in Ofterschwang, Bavaria, encouraged team "bonding" and the strategic alignment but also included sports activities plus fitness and health regimes. Fun, hard work and excellent team spirit marked the winter camp between 10-17 February 2008, in which the three squad newcomers Oliver Jarvis, Katherine Legge and Markus Winkelhock, also participated.
The drivers competing in the 2008 season, Head of Audi Sport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich plus Team Directors Hans-Jurgen Abt (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline), Ernst Moser (Audi Sport Team Phoenix), Arno Zensen (Audi Sport Team Rosberg) and Ralf Juttner (Audi Sport Team Joest), each had a particularly intensive week at the "Sonnenalp". "At the winter camp, it's much more than just a question of fitness," emphasises Dr Wolfgang Ullrich. "It is the best opportunity to start the new season. Victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and winning the championship in the 2007 DTM were the fruits of excellent teamwork. The winter camp creates the basis to be able to start the 2008 racing year especially full of strength and motivation."
Methodical scientific methods as foundation
The daily routine started with gymnastics and aquapower in the early morning. Afterwards, the morning was dominated by skating and Nordic walking, before team sports ranging from basketball to water polo encouraged the group theme. Strengthening exercises, spinning and stretching were just a few of the other training exercises, included in the programme. Coordination abilities were also encouraged through special kinetics exercises. Late in the afternoon, there were additional team "bonding" units.
"In theory, the best form of training for racing drivers is the driving itself, since it trains the neck and pectoral girdle muscles," explains Audi team physician Dr Christian John who, as usual, supervised the programme. "However, this alone has long since been inadequate. A sports programme to increase stamina is important as a supplement, and which ideally consists of jogging, cross country skiing in winter and cycling. To check their abilities in these areas we measure the drivers' performance and lactate values as an expression of the individual oxygen debt. In other words, 'what does a driver produce and how does the body react as a result?' "
The winter camp was a new experience for the new Audi factory drivers. "This is the first time that I've participated in such professional preparations for a season in motorsport," said an impressed Oliver Jarvis. "The winter camp has given me plenty to think about and I now know which areas I must concentrate in my future fitness training. It was also fantastic to be able to meet the other drivers before the season starts."
Tom Kristensen arrived in excellent form. The Dane, who was hampered by a heavy accident last year, reported: "It was a fantastic weekend and it was great to see all my team mates again after the winter break. I'm feeling very well. I've trained even harder and am even better prepared than last season. I want to attack this year."
The other Audi drivers also made an excellent impression at the Sonnenalp. For Dr Christian John the entire squad's performances are a positive conformation of complete team work: "The development we've seen over the years is just amazing. When we started, some drivers admitted that they hadn't trained since Christmas. Nowadays, this is taboo. All the drivers are in an excellent physical condition. They train regularly throughout the entire year. We see the fruits of our labour."