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Heidfeld samples Superbike at BMW Sauber fan day 20 Jul 2009

BMW Sauber driver Nick Heidfeld (GER) rides the BMW S 1000 RR, BMW Sauber Race Club fan event, Nurburgring, Germany, 20 July 2009. © BMW AG

Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport director) with drivers and their vehicles, BMW Sauber Race Club fan event, Nurburgring, Germany, 20 July 2009. © BMW AG BMW Sauber driver Nick Heidfeld (GER) with BMW Motorrad rider Troy Corser (AUS), BMW Sauber Race Club fan event, Nurburgring, Germany, 20 July 2009. © BMW AG BMW Motorrad rider Ruben Xaus (ESP) rides the BMW S 1000 RR and Robert Kubica (POL) drives the BMW Sauber Formula One car, BMW Sauber Race Club fan event, Nurburgring, Germany, 20 July 2009. © BMW AG Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport director) and Robert Kubica (POL) sign autographs for the fans, BMW Sauber Race Club fan event, Nurburgring, Germany, 20 July 2009. © BMW AG

Although BMW Sauber’s 2009 season to date has been far from ideal, the team held a special day at the Nurburgring on Monday to thank the team’s fans and partners for their continued support. Drivers Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica and BMW Motorsport director Mario Theissen were all in attendance at the German track.

One of the highlights was the chance to watch Heidfeld sample rider Troy Corser’s BMW Motorrad Superbike, the German driver swapping his 700 horsepower (hp) Formula One car for the two-time world champion’s 200-hp motorcycle.

“It was a sensational experience - thank you to everyone!” said Heidfeld after climbing off the bike. “I already had lots of fun practising on the street bike in the morning, and managed to score the first scrapes into the knee area of my racing suit. That was inevitable. Of course I wanted to touch the ground while cornering on the racing machine as well, and I came up trumps there too.

“I had expected the Superbike to be a huge leap over the production version, a bit like series cars and racers, but I was surprised in the end. The difference is huge. On the one hand the Superbike is more aggressive, builds up more grip and has the superior brakes, but on the other hand it is easier to ride because you can control it so well. The handling is very precise. Obviously I’m still miles from the limit with the Superbike; I would love to have done a lot more laps.”

Corser, meanwhile, had the chance to drive Heidfeld’s Formula One car and clearly relished the experience, saying: “It was just awesome! The car feels so balanced and the brakes are fantastic, the tyres have unbelievable grip and the steering is very direct but still has a lot of feeling.

"I can’t believe how hard and late you can brake. I know I was braking too early and I really would like to have a day or two with the car to really see what I can do with it. I’d like to thank everybody involved in giving me this opportunity - and I hope I can do it again.”

Kubica was also in action driving his Formula One car around the short version of the circuit, while Spanish BMW Motorrad racer, Ruben Xaus, demonstrated his skills on his bike before sampling a BMW World Touring Car Championship car. For Theissen the fan support provided a much-needed boost.

“Above all in these difficult times, we are indebted to our partners and fans, and it’s really good to feel this support,” he said. “It’s easy to accept the accolades, and we’ve had plenty of them over recent years. But we must not let the dialogue falter when things get tough.”

Heidfeld, Kubica and Theissen will now journey to Budapest, ahead of this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix which will get underway on Friday.