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.
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.
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.