Marius Zug

Zug: “In the race we try to deliver the best.”

Marius, when you look back on the past motorsport season: What were your personal highlights?

Marius Zug: “The whole year was one big highlight really. It was my first season and I never expected it to go so well. The highlights were the first race weekend in the ADAC GT4 Germany in Oschersleben starting from the front row of the grid and getting the win, as well as the season finale starting in the BMW M6 GT3 in Monza. We were runners up in the ADAC GT4 Germany and the GT4 European Series, on top of this was the Junior title for me in the ADAC GT4 Germany and the ‘Rookie of the Year’ title in the BMW Sports Trophy. Overall the year was simply fantastic.”

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Did you expect to have such a season at the start of the year after switching from karting to car racing?

Zug: “I definitely didn’t expect it. The plan was for the season to be a year of learning in the GT4 so that we would be able to fight for the title this year. But it went so well that we are already one step further. And the honour of being on stage with Alex Zanardi in the BMW Sports Trophy was a wonderful moment and a great accolade.”

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BMW M4 GT4

You started in the BMW M4 GT4 last year. What do you feel is the best thing about the car? What makes it stand out from the competition?

Zug: “I had a good feeling in the car from the start. As a newcomer from karting I was still inexperienced and was a little nervous at the beginning in the initial tests. But the car was great to drive from the start and gave me a good feeling. We also received amazing support from BMW M Customer Racing at the track throughout the year. The main advantage of the BMW M4 GT4 is its high torque compared with the competition. This means you can get a lot of performance on the track very quickly, even out of tighter bends.”

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How are you passing the involuntary break from racing in the current situation?

Zug: “Obviously, I still have school in the morning, but otherwise without a full day of classes I have more time for the simulator and for fitness training. So, I can run or cycle longer distances, for example. Recently I got back in a kart for the first time on a weekend, more of those tracks are open again that tracks for cars. Which is why I am a bit more active there again, as an alternative and to be able to drive again.”

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Marius Zug

Sim racing is currently experiencing increasing awareness and acceptance. How are you involved in this field?

Zug: “I started sim racing in 2017, when it was clear that I actually wanted to race in Formula 4. That’s when I got my first simulator. At first, I raced alone and mainly prepared for upcoming races, without taking part in sim racing events. But now I have got a new simulator that works a lot better. Now I also use the simulator for daily training and will take part in sim racing events for BS+COMPETITION from now on. I started discussions with the team, we sat down together and raced initial sessions together. Then the contact became more intense and we came to the decision that it was a good fit. Now we’re ready for the first races together.”

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Which events will you contest for BS+COMPETITION?

Zug: “In sim racing you can compete in races round the clock around the world in theory. The most interesting races for us in the short term are the 24-hour events and the BMW SIM 120 Cup on iRacing.”

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Marius Zug

What is the difference between sim racing and real-life racing? Where are the challenges?

Zug: “I think that there is a more level playing field because fewer external factors play a role. Obviously, a computer can crash, but there are no issues like tyre damage. However, you also need more training. There definitely is a difference between driving on the racetrack with the BMW M4 GT4 in Oschersleben in real-life and in the simulator. You can’t expect to have exactly the same results. You need to prepare yourself for this explicitly.”

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What are the advantages of sim racing compared with traditional racing?

Zug: “Definitely the equal opportunities, and that you can use much more time effectively on the track.”

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How do you prepare for a sim race?

Zug: “The preparation at BS+COMPETITION is structured really well and professionally. We are in training three to four times a week, for two or three hours together. During this time we work on set-ups together and racing lines, trying everything you can think of. Then in the race we try to deliver the best.”

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Marius Zug

How do you make a successful start in sim racing? What is the basis you need to have?

Zug: “You need sim racing hardware, but you can start with a cheap one. The main thing that you have to invest is a lot of time, because there is a lot to learn to start with. It was totally new to me too. Then when you are more used to it after a while, like me you can think about upgrading your simulator to really get into it.”

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With which driver would you love to share the cockpit, either in sim racing or in real-life on the racetrack?

Zug: “I would love to drive with Timo Glock in sim racing. I was a guest in the pit with him at the DTM finale last year. He is a huge role model for me with his career. Which is why it would be amazing to work with him.”

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What are your plans for the rest of the season, in both virtual and real-life racing? What is still on the schedule?

Zug: “The plan for this year is to contest the entire GT3 season in Italy. At our appearance in Monza last year we got to know the race series and will compete there for BMW Italia. The plan is also to contest the ADAC GT Masters with MRS GT Racing, with the BMW M6 GT3, and to make the move from the GT4 to the GT3 in Germany.”

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Marius Zug

You are already really successful. Where is your career going to take you next?

Zug: “I think that GT3 racing will be a permanent feature for me, because I feel it is visionary. There are also some big races with GT3 cars such as Daytona, Nürburgring, Bathurst and Spa. But endurance races, for example, with the BMW M8 GTE in America or in Le Mans would really appeal to me.”

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Which race, or which series is number one on your personal bucket list?

Zug: “For every racing driver in a car with a roof, the 24 Hours of Le Mans is one of the biggest races there is. I would love to take part in that race – and preferably on the podium.”

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And which BMW racing car would you love to take for a spin?

Zug: “The current spearhead at BMW is the BMW M4 DTM. But the BMW M8 GTE is also great because it is a bit closer to production and there isn’t much difference between it and the GT3 car. But looking back, I would rally love to drive a Formula 1 car from BMW’s history.”

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