Charly Lamm: Bruno Spengler has done unbelievably well

History has repeated itself: BMW Team Schnitzer has won the DTM in its first year back, echoing its first generation’s success in 1989, when Roberto Ravaglia was crowned champion behind the wheel of a BMW M3. The 2012 team, led as it was back then by Team Principal Charly Lamm, proved to be made of the right stuff, celebrating four victories and both the Drivers' and Team championships with Bruno Spengler (CA). DTM newcomer Dirk Werner (DE) was also impressive over the course of the season’s ten races.

Champion 2012, Bruno Spengler, BMW Team Schnitzer BMW M3 DTM
Champion 2012, Bruno Spengler, BMW Team Schnitzer BMW M3 DTM

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In an interview, Lamm spoke of BMW Team Schnitzer’s triumph in Hockenheim (DE), how he felt the season had gone overall, and about both of his drivers.

Mr. Lamm, 23 years after your last DTM title, BMW Team Schnitzer has shot to the top once again. Have you managed to get to grips yet with what happened on Sunday? “I’m simply very proud of BMW Team Schnitzer. The season final’s three-way battle between Bruno Spengler, Gary Paffett and Jamie Green was everything a motorsport fan could have wished for. Bruno’s good start was key. The team was also able to contribute to his success with some excellent pit stops, which helped Bruno stay ahead of Gary at the end and win the title. It was just unbelievable.”

Did you think such success was possible at the start of the season? “You never think about that. Half a year ago before the season-opener in Hockenheim, we asked ourselves what we could expect in the DTM. You naturally have ideas, goals and hopes going into a season. We set out to have a respectable start. And now Bruno is the champion, BMW has won the manufacturers' prize and we’re at the top of the team standings. It’s unbelievable. I’m also very happy for the team because it won the pit stop competition. This success shows how well we’ve found our bearings in the DTM after two decades away.”

The last time you won a title – in the American Le Mans Series – was 11 years ago… “Yes, although we have had other great successes in the meantime, including our victories in the 24-hour races at the Nürburgring. But winning one of the great titles is naturally always something very special. In the European Touring Car Championship, and also in the World Championship, we’ve always fought hard for the title and have sometimes lost by only a small margin. But we never doubted ourselves. It’s hardly possible to express the feeling now that we’ve managed to win the DTM title in our first year back. The demands of the new DTM are always immense. Audi and Mercedes-Benz have set the bar very high here over the years. We wanted to reach this bar as quickly as possible and then jump over it at some point in the future, and now we’ve even managed to set it a little bit higher ourselves.”

BMW Team Schnitzer was always one of the favourites in the past. This time it was seen more as an underdog. Was this role okay for you? “Our victory at the Lausitzring showed we were among the very best very early on in the season. We hadn’t expected to be doing quite so well. In the end we were able to improve with each race. We also continually built up our level of experience, which allowed us to progress even further. The whole team commanded a lot of respect at the start, and our earlier success spurred us on. Any place on the podium was seen as a bonus at that point, and as the season entered the final straight, we began to realise that we actually had a chance of winning the title. From that moment on, we all had the will to fight for this opportunity and to make the most of it. But we did this without feeling any pressure.”

Your drivers started from different positions. Dirk Werner was a DTM rookie and Bruno Spengler was an experienced DTM star. How did you find the performance of your drivers? “Dirk had a similar experience to us. He had to learn a lot and to realise that you quite simply have to do everything right in the DTM if you want to get by. After the strong start in Hockenheim, he had a couple of problems, but he then gradually managed to work back up to the front of the pack. We wanted to win his first points at the Norisring – and it worked. And from that moment on, his position kept on improving. Dirk got better with each race and has every reason to be proud of his performance – just like everyone else in the team.”

And the same goes for Bruno Spengler… “In the past, BMW Team Schnitzer has often had exactly the right driver at exactly the right moment. This was the case again with Bruno this year. We didn’t know each other before the season. We had only previously observed him in the DTM. We met each other for the first time at the first communal test. BMW’s decision to get Bruno and Dirk to drive for us was definitely a very lucky one. Bruno’s experience has done us a power of good. He has swept the team along and passed on his experience.”

How proud does it make you that Bruno Spengler has finally managed to win the title with BMW Team Schnitzer after so many attempts elsewhere? “In our team, the driver is always the hero. He sets the level of performance. For us, success is not just down to preparing the driver’s car perfectly, but also to having a good personal connection with the man himself. You can only achieve your goals if you work together. Bruno recognises this philosophy, and in this context he’s been able to prove he has nerves of steel. He’s done unbelievably well. And I am, of course, very happy we were able to help him win his first DTM title.”

Source: BMW Motorsport

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About this article
Series DTM
Drivers Bruno Spengler , Gary Paffett , Roberto Ravaglia , Dirk Werner , Jamie Green , Charly Lamm
Teams BMW Team Schnitzer
Article type Analysis
Tags bmw, dtm, lamm, spengler