Team All German Motorsports switches to attack mode
Clear goal: AGM duo Schwarz/Christensen aim to repeat last year’s success
No mercy: Hardly any other BAJA event is as brutal as the SCORE San Felipe 250
Ironed out: AGM Buggy’s suspension and aerodynamics further developed
11 March 2010. Curtains up for the Wild West desert show: Parallel to the season-opening round of the Formula 1 World Championship in Bahrain, an equally as exciting and fascinating motorsport spectacle takes off near the Mexican-American border. At the SCORE San Felipe 250, the second of five rounds of the best-supported and fiercely contested offroad series in the world, drivers return to place where it all began over 40 years ago: on Mexico’s Baja California. Almost 300 cars, trucks and bikes, manned by ambitious amateurs in near-standard offroaders and US professionals with their up to 850 hp cross country monsters are determined to take on the brutal challenge. Like the Grand Prix opener in Bahrain, where the racing world eagerly awaits Michael Schumacher’s return, many eyes are also trained on a German racer in Mexico: Armin Schwarz and his teammate Martin Christensen from All German Motorsports (AGM) are focussed on repeating their podium result from here last year. “That’s all we’re after,” the 46-year-old Bavarian stated frankly and explains: “In January a technical hitch left us in the lurch at the season-opener in Nevada. Yes, it was annoying, but at the same time we now face an interesting challenge. With just four races left to claim the title, we are now forced to do what every driver loves: full attack!” Such tactics are fantastic for fans and, as underlined last year, bring results. The swift AGM duo not only clinched second at the San Felipe 250, but also at the infamous BAJA 500, and again at the BAJA 1000 season highlight. The German/Californian combo then topped it off with victory at the SCORE Primm 300 in Nevada. Despite their unfortunate start to the season last year, Schwarz/Christensen took home vice-championship honours in the top class for “Unlimited Class 1 Buggys”. The situation looks very promising. The AGM squad has again reworked its ca. 640 hp Buggy. “Everyone in the team thinks hard about these changes and contributes ideas on how we can improve,” says team owner and Schwarz’s teammate Martin Christensen. “Many of these are implemented in our vehicle and, similar to a F1 car, development is ongoing from race to race. Several of our newest innovations look quite distinctive. One example: we’ve changed the aerodynamics at the rear.” A prominent rear-wing combined with a modified suspension ensure more stability and better traction on the up to 200 kph hunt through open terrain. Moreover, in the AGM headquarters located at Escondido near San Diego in southern California, the brawny eight-cylinder engine as well as the power train including clutch and transmission underwent modifications.
The San Felipe 250 is regarded as the ultimate test in the SCORE Series. Competitors face exactly 248 miles (almost 400 kilometres) non-stop, by day – and if things turn to custard – by night. “In SCORE jargon the US boys talk about ‘bone breakers and lost dentures’,” of which Armin Schwarz is only too aware from his experience from 121 WRC events, including the notorious Safari Rally. At the lottery draw for starting positions, the All German Motorsports team drew start number 101. This puts AGM start driver Armin Schwarz and his regular navigator Bryan Lyttle first out of the 20 “Unlimited Class 1
Buggys” but behind about 31 predominantly 800 hp Trophy Trucks. The AGM squad has scheduled the driver change with Martin Christensen and his navigator Tyler Irwin to take place after around 250 kilometres, that’s shortly after the halfway mark in this spectacular offroad sprint.
Thrills are guaranteed at the wild SCORE Series hunt through Baja California: “I reckon this will again be the toughest challenge this year,” says Schwarz. “We are well prepared but we also need Lady Luck on our side.” Martin Christensen, who will conduct a shakedown with the modified AGM Buggy, is optimistic and confident for another impressive result. “This event seems to suit us and our car. It might sound strange, but each time we were hampered by technical hiccups at the season-opener in Nevada, we always went from strength to strength afterwards. Two years ago we secured class victory at the 250, and last year we came second. I’m looking forward to going full steam ahead without tactical constraints.”