Munich (DE) The waiting is over: the new DTM season gets underway in Hockenheim (DE) on 5th May. For BMW Motorsport, this marks the start of a second year in the popular touring car series, following the brand’s successful return after an absence of 20 years in 2012, when the BMW teams and drivers overcame the high-class and experienced opposition to claim a clean sweep of titles.
The four BMW teams – BMW Team Schnitzer, BMW Team RBM, BMW Team RMG and DTM newcomers BMW Team MTEK – will face numerous new challenges in the 2013 season.
The option tyres and the Drag Reduction System (DRS) are set to add even more excitement and overtaking manoeuvres to the DTM. The race weekend has also been condensed. In the future there will be only one practice session, on the Saturday, before every thousandth of a second counts in the battle for grid positions in Sunday’s race.
At no other circuit has BMW claimed so many victories in the DTM as the Hockenheimring. To date, a BMW driver has crossed the finish line in first place on 11 occasions.
The last of these came at the finale of the 2012 season, when Bruno Spengler (CA) finished first – a win that secured him the drivers’ title. When he returns to Hockenheim, it will be the Canadian’s first DTM race with the number 1 on his BMW Bank M3 DTM.
Quotes ahead of the race in Hockenheim:
Jens Marquardt (BMW Motorsport Director): “We are the defending DTM champions and, as such, find ourselves in the best position you could ever wish for. We are very happy to take on this role. However, with two opponents as strong as Audi and Mercedes-Benz, you can never rest on your laurels.
You have to work hard, in order to ensure you are always competitive. That is precisely what we did during the winter break. One thing is clear: it will be impossible to repeat that form of historic success – winning the title in our comeback year.
That is exactly why we will never forget those moments after the finish at the 2012 finale in Hockenheim. Our second year in the DTM is now just around the corner, and a lot has changed.
Technical innovations like DRS and the option tyres, together with the shortened race weekends, will pose a challenge for the teams and drivers. Furthermore, this is our first year with a fourth team and eighth drivers.
The season will certainly be extremely exciting for all those involved and the fans. I am absolutely delighted that the waiting is finally over.”
Charly Lamm (Team Principal, BMW Team Schnitzer): “After last year’s unbelievable success, when we sensationally won the title, people obviously have high expectations of us for the new season. As I see it, however, not a lot has changed with regard to our starting position compared to our rivals.
The DTM is such a close affair that we will once again have to fight hard for every point in 2013 against Audi and Mercedes-Benz. It is important that, in Bruno Spengler and Dirk Werner, we have the same drivers in the team as we did during the successful 2012 season. This continuity is beneficial to us.
The combination of Bruno’s DTM experience and the breath of fresh air that Dirk brought to the table as a rookie worked perfectly from the word go in 2012. Hopefully having that number 1 on his car will inspire Bruno to be even quicker. Furthermore, Dirk lines up with far more experience in his second season. These are all good signs.”
Bart Mampaey (Team Principal, BMW Team RBM): “We will continue to work hard in 2013. Even though last year was obviously ideal for BMW as a whole, we still have room for improvement as a team.
We made a point with Augusto Farfus’s win and two pole positions in 2012. We would now like to follow on from those achievements. The many innovations mean it will be very exciting to see what surprises the opening race weekend has in store for all the teams.”
Stefan Reinhold (Team Principal, BMW Team RMG): “Compared to last year, we are more relaxed going into the new season. For us, as a new team, the focus in 2012 was on arriving at the opening race in Hockenheim with a functioning structure. This year’s preparations have centred more on the fine tuning.
During the winter tests, we have been able to concentrate on those areas in which we feel we have the greatest room for improvement. The basis we achieved in 2012 was very good.
In the new season, it will primarily be about eliminating the misfortune we were struck by at some of last year’s races, and pointing ourselves further towards the front of the field.”
Ernest Knoors (Team Principal, BMW Team MTEK): “The last few months have been very intensive for us. We started assembling our new team from scratch in October. I am proud we have achieved that, and am really looking forward to our first season in the DTM. There are not a lot of racing series that are as professionally and well organised.
The DTM and its three manufacturers offer great motorsport. Great cars, a magnificent structure and fantastic manufacturers. Racing in a series like this for a company like BMW is a unique opportunity.
It goes without saying that nobody can expect us to be right at the front of the field in our debut year. However, we are looking to use 2013 to lay the foundations, so that we can achieve this goal as quickly as possible.”
Bruno Spengler (car number 1, BMW Team Schnitzer): “Hockenheim is one of my favourite circuits on the DTM calendar. The opening race will be very emotional for me. This is where I secured my first DTM title last season. I am highly motivated and out to prove I am a worthy champion.
It is always absolutely great fun to drive at the Hockenheimring. Most of all, I am looking forward to seeing the fans again. Lining up with the number 1 on the BMW Bank M3 DTM is a very special feeling.”
Dirk Werner (car number 2, BMW Team Schnitzer): “I really like the Hockenheimring. I fared very well at this circuit last season. I qualified third at the first round of 2012, and finished fifth in the final race to score valuable points towards the team and manufacturers’ championships.
However, this definitely does not make me a Hockenheim expert. Other drivers in the field have contested far more races here than I have. Everything must come together on the race weekend in order to challenge at the front of the field. I am obviously hoping for a good result.”
Augusto Farfus (car number 7, BMW Team RBM): “Although the preparations for the new season have been very short, we are well prepared. It is a fantastic feeling to return to Hockenheim – the circuit, at which we achieved such a historic success last year.
The entry into the Motodrom is unique. You come through the fast right-hander and are suddenly faced with the packed grandstands. That is a great feeling every time. I also like the constant switching between fast and slow sections in Hockenheim. It is a super circuit.”
Joey Hand (car number 8, BMW Team RBM): “I am really looking forward to my second year in the DTM. Being able to call upon everything I learned in my debut season will allow me to get along better from the word go. It is nice to return to Hockenheim. Of all the circuits in Europe, this is the one I know best.
It is also my favourite circuit in the DTM. The layout just seems to suit me. I am extremely motivated, particularly as I had a very good test phase in my new team, BMW Team RBM. We have put together a pretty cool troop. Bring on the new season.”
Martin Tomczyk (car number 15, BMW Team RMG): “You can sense the anticipation ahead of Hockenheim everywhere. I am also really fired up for the new season. The Hockenheimring is an iconic racetrack and one of my favourite circuits in the DTM. The many fans in the grandstands turn the Motodrom into a seething cauldron with a unique atmosphere. Racing there is always an amazing experience.”
Andy Priaulx (car number 16, BMW Team RMG): “The season-opener in Hockenheim is an extraordinary event. I am certain that BMW – just as it was at the final race of last year – will once again be very strong. However, the opposition has definitely taken a step forward.
It will be interesting to see what effect the DRS and option tyres have on the race. Whatever happens, the fans can look forward to an exciting start to the season.”
Marco Wittmann (car number 21, BMW Team MTEK): “I start my first year in the DTM in Hockenheim. I could hardly imagine a better venue for the start of this new chapter in my career. The circuit has fast and slow sections – everything a racing driver desires. All in all, it is a very exciting circuit, especially when you turn into the Motodrom and are greeted by the many BMW fans cheering you on from the packed grandstands.”
Timo Glock (car number 22, BMW Team MTEK): “Everyone at BMW Team MTEK and BMW Motorsport has worked unbelievably hard over the winter. The team has really put itself on the line to ensure that we are competitive in the first race. Personally, I have noticed an improvement with every test and am feeling more and more at home in the DTM car.
I hope this trend continues in Hockenheim. My first race in the DTM for BMW, in front of full grandstands, will definitely be one of the highlights of my career. This is the start of a new chapter for me. Our goal is to gain experience and learn. I am really looking forward to it.”