Video: Robert Kubica Thrashes a BMW M4 Around the Nürburgring!

Why is Robert Kubica a racing legend? Let me count the ways. In addition to his speed, smoothness, and smarts behind the wheel, he has a hard-boiled sense of humor that’s helped him through a few traumatic crashes. He’s also proven himself in a variety of vehicles—including F1 cars and WRC Subarus. Currently, he’s racing DTM with the Art GP team.

After a disappointing sprint race at the Nürburgring GP circuit last weekend, Kubica figured he’d try to lift his spirits by renting one of Apex Nurburg’s track-prepped BMW M4s to try and learn the 12.94-mile Nordschleife.

Though this M4 isn’t exactly the sort of thoroughbred Kubica’s used it, it’s still quick, balanced, and reassuring. In other words, it’s the best sort of car to learn the perilous ‘Ring. With the help of Team Schirmer, Apex Nurburg outfitted the car with JRZ RS Pro suspension, Team Dynamics wheels, a front splitter, a rear wing, and a kinematic kit to modify the suspension geometry. Now it has more than enough traction to handle the turbo power.

It’s also 450 pounds lighter than the standard M4.

A Nuanced Driving Style

If we look a little closer, we can see all the nuance present in his driving. With a 7/10ths approach and a delicate touch, he can get up to speed quickly—annoyingly quickly, actually. His inputs are deliberate and his corrections are so minor they’re almost imperceptible. When he enters corners with a little too much speed, which he occasionally does, he can remain on the intended line and he doesn’t overcook the fronts beyond a few undesired degrees of slip angle. Based on the way he can edge the car out to the rumble strips in so many corners, it’s fair to say he’s comfortable from the start.

His variety of lines change quickly and subtly, and from the time he’s out of Flugplatz, he looks like he’s already learned to neutralize the car and lean less on the front axle (5:28). It’s this sort of adaptability and tidiness that helps him keep his minimum speeds up and proceed confidently. Considering his lack of familiarity with the off-camber, blind, and undulating corners at Norschleife, it’s almost superhuman.

It’s clear his right hand, damaged from a rally accident, does far less work than his hard-gripping left.

Despite the speed and the humorous banter, he’s clearly thinking hard about getting the most from this car. “Because the barriers are closer than the modern tracks; there are not a lot of runoff areas, [so] you get the feeling of speed much higher than in modern tracks. So you have to really adapt to what you see and what your brain perception is,” he debriefs after this frightening lap.

This inspiring mixture of confidence and circumspection is what separates the great from the good. Plus, when you can bundle that talent and concentration with a good sense of humor, real bravery, and a childlike curiosity about different cars and circuits, you get a professional of Kubica’s caliber.

About the author

Tommy Parry

Tommy Parry has been racing and writing about racing cars for the past seven years. As an automotive enthusiast from a young age, he worked jobs revolving around cars throughout high school, and tried his hand on the race track on his 20th birthday. After winning his first outdoor kart race, Tommy began working as an apprentice mechanic to amateur racers in the Bay Area to sharpen his mechanical understanding. He has worked as a track day instructor and automotive writer since 2012, and continues to race karts, formula cars, sedans, and rally cars in the San Francisco region.
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