The BMW driver crossed the finish line in sixth place and is thus beyond reach for his rivals in the battle for the title.
Klettwitz – He is 24 years young, but is hardened like an old hand: Marco Wittmann is the 2014 DTM champion. In the eighth season round at the Lausitzring, the BMW driver crossed the finish line in sixth place and is thus beyond reach for his rivals in the battle for the title. “This is sensational, simply unbelievable. It was a difficult race, I had to stay out of all the battles. I still have to deal with all these emotions,” the delighted German said after the biggest success of his career in motorsport to date.
An ambitious and competitive person, a sporting high-flyer or the down-to-earth boy next door: characterising the newly-crowned DTM champion is by no means easy. Anyone who knows Marco Wittmann also knows that the racing driver from Fürth does everything what it takes to be successful at the race track, but is keeping his feet firmly on the ground. The 24-year-old is taking his power from his family, the quiet retreat from his hectic life as a DTM star.
The way to the title
In the 2014 season, Wittmann drove from one success to another and continuously extended his lead in the drivers’ standings. When people asked him about the possible title win, his answer always was: “It is still too early to talk about this. I am working from one race to another.” This approach turned out to be the right one and also underlined the upcoming DTM star’s strong nerves. Jens Marquardt is one of Marco Wittmann’s biggest fans. “Throughout the season, Marco has kept his calm and always gave 100 percent,” the BMW motorsport director said proudly.
Marco Wittmann laid the foundation for his title win during the Hockenheim season opener, where he scored his maiden DTM race win with an advantage of 13 seconds. At Budapest, Spielberg and at the Nürburgring, he also stood on the top step of the podium. Only seldom before, a young race driver dominated proceedings in the DTM in a way like Marco Wittmann did this year. The series’ stalwarts also hailed him for his brilliant performance throughout the 2014 season. “Marco perhaps may be a little bit shy, but he knows very well when to push which pedal on his BMW,” the 2013 DTM champion Mike Rockenfeller commented. Mercedes-Benz driver Gary Paffett added: “He really is a good sport. His performance throughout the season has been impressive.”
The champion’s early days
Everybody starts at a low level, and that can particularly be said about Marco Wittmann. In his first years racing go-karts, the young talent usually was the smallest driver in the field. His father Herbert has fond memories of the early days. “Our Marco was so small that he wasn’t even able to reach the pedals with his feet. To make sure that he could still drive, we put wooden blocks under his feet”, he recalls. “Initially, people laughed about him, but soon enough, he regularly gave the older and above all taller opponents a hard time.” Through the ranks of Formula BMW and the Formula 3 Euro Series, Wittmann finally made it into the DTM in 2012, albeit only as BMW’s official test driver initially. In 2013, Wittmann had his debut season racing for the brand from Munich in the most popular international touring car series.
Marco Wittmann, the family man
Father Herbert Wittmann, mother Angelika and brother Nico are present at every DTM round. The parents of the new DTM champion spend the nights in their camper in the paddock and thus are always in the immediate proximity of their son. “For me, a race weekend always involves plenty of stress,” Marco Wittmann explains. “Therefore, I don’t have a lot of time left for my family. Nevertheless, knowing that they are there is a very nice feeling.” When his tight schedule allows, the trained bodywork mechanic helps out in his parents’ workshop. Repairing bodywork damage, working with cars or taking care of the organisation in the family business are the contrast to the motorsport world, in which the BMW driver is taking centre stage.