Only one driver had previously managed to secure the title three races before the end of the season back in 2001.
Lausitzring (DE) — The DTM has a new champion: Marco Wittmann (DE) of BMW Team RMG wrapped up the title in the Drivers’ Championship in the eighth round of the ten-race season at the Lausitzring (DE). Sixth place on Sunday was sufficient for the 24-year-old, at the wheel of the Ice-Watch BMW M4 DTM, to ensure he can no longer be caught by his rivals.Wittmann started from seventh place, and once again produced a flawless race in difficult conditions to pick up eight points at the end of the 52-lap race and take the final step towards the title.
Wittmann follows in the footsteps of Volker Strycek (DE, 1984), Eric van de Poele (BE, 1987), Roberto Ravaglia (IT, 1989) and Bruno Spengler (CA, 2012), who have all triumphed in this series for BMW. Taking all manufacturers into consideration, he is the third-youngest DTM champion of all time.
After yesterday I did not really believe that it would work out today.
Wittmann’s success also marks the first time in the history of the “new” DTM – since 2000 – that a driver has been crowned champion in only his second year. Only Bernd Schneider (DE) had previously managed to secure the title three races before the end of the season back in 2001.
In winning the title, Wittmann continued a special tradition: whenever BMW has appeared in the DTM with a new model, the title in the Drivers’ Championship has ultimately gone to Munich (DE) at the end of the season. After Strycek’s success with the BMW 635 CSi in 1984, van de Poele repeated the feat with the BMW M3 in 1987, and Spengler continued the tradition with the BMW M3 DTM in 2012. Wittmann has now ensured that the first year of the new BMW M4 DTM will also go down as a golden debut season.
He now has 128 points to his name, and a 69-point lead over second-placed Christian Vietoris (DE, Mercedes). BMW Team RMG also tops the Team standings with 167 points, giving it a 75-point cushion ahead of its closest rivals. And BMW also leads the Manufacturers’ Championship with 320 points.
Behind the new champion, Augusto Farfus (BR, Castrol EDGE BMW M4 DTM) and Martin Tomczyk (DE, BMW M Performance Parts M4 DTM) also finished in the points in seventh and eighth at the Lausitzring. Both drivers were rewarded for fighting back strongly from 20th and 23rd on the grid respectively.
Joey Hand (US, Crowne Plaza Hotels BMW M4 DTM), Maxime Martin (BE, SAMSUNG BMW M4 DTM) and Bruno Spengler (CA, BMW Bank M4 DTM) came home 11th, 14th and 15th. The two BMW Team MTEK drivers, Timo Glock (DE, DEUTSCHE POST BMW M4 DTM) and António Félix da Costa (PT, Red Bull BMW M4 DTM), failed to finish. Victory at the 3.478-kilometre circuit went to Mercedes driver Pascal Wehrlein (DE).
Wittmann can now enjoy the remaining races in Zandvoort (NL) and Hockenheim (DE) as the DTM champion. The young German caught the eye in the very first race of the year, winning the season-opener at the Hockenheimring – and he went on to add a further three victories over the course of the season. At just 24 years and 294 days, Wittmann is the youngest DTM champion in BMW colours, and the youngest ever champion from Germany.
Marco Wittmann (BMW Team RMG, 2014 DTM Champion): “Unbelievable. This is an absolutely awesome feeling. The constantly changing conditions made it a really difficult race today. There were a lot of battles, and I just tried to stay out of bother. A few drivers skidded off the track and it was topsy-turvy at times. After yesterday I did not really believe that it would work out today. On the whole, however, we were able to drive a clean race.
I am so emotional now, it is crazy. The season has been incredible so far. I am so proud of BMW Team RMG and BMW Motorsport. Everyone has done a sensational job. The pit stop was superb again today. To already know that I am the champion is amazing. I think we will have a fantastic party today.”
Jens Marquardt (BMW Motorsport Director): “It is difficult to find words today to describe Marco Wittmann’s performance. That goes not only for today’s race, but also the entire season. In a race that was heated at times, he always kept a cool head and showed the perfect combination of aggression and control. Marco fully deserves to be crowned champion so early in the season. The BMW M4 DTM, BMW Team RMG and he have formed the perfect unit right from the start of the season.
We have continued the tradition of winning the title in the first season with every new car we have fielded in the DTM. This is something we are very proud of. Marco is the youngest German champion of all time, and hardly anyone has ever wrapped up the title so early in a season – and all in just his second year in the DTM. An absolutely mega achievement.
Congratulations to Marco, but also to Stefan Reinhold’s BMW Team RMG, who have worked hard for this success. Today we will celebrate our success here at the Lausitzring. This is a good venue for us. After claiming our first win since returning to the series and the 50th ever for BMW here in 2012, we can now celebrate the first title for the BMW M4 DTM.”
Stefan Reinhold (Team Principal, BMW Team RMG): “This is a dream come true for us. It is amazing that we have already secured the Drivers’ title here at the Lausitzring. At the moment it is still hard to take it all in. After the first two years we tried to improve in all areas. We started to work very closely with the two drivers early in the winter. We had good tests, which meant we went into the first race full of confidence – and won at the first attempt.
A success like that obviously gives you a real lift. It is never a given, but success comes more easily once you are at a good level. At the same time, there is always the pressure to maintain this level all season. That pressure is now a little less for us after today. However, we still have a lot of goals: we want to win the Team competition and the Manufacturers’ Championship with BMW.
Therefore, we must continue to go about our work in a focussed manner. We now head to Zandvoort, which is Marco’s favourite circuit, so I am already looking forward to the next race. We have some celebrating to do first though.”
Charly Lamm (Team Principal, BMW Team Schnitzer): “It is fantastic that Marco Wittmann is the DTM champion. I am really pleased for him, as he deserved the Drivers’ title – and also for BMW Team RMG and BMW Motorsport. For us, it was obviously unfortunate that there was contact between our two drivers, which resulted in Martin Tomczyk spinning. He then produced an impressive display to still pick up three points. Bruno Spengler received a drive-through penalty and had to come in early. After that, there was no way he could finish in the points.”
Ernest Knoors (Team Principal, BMW Team MTEK): “First of all, I would like to congratulate Marco Wittmann, as well as Stefan Reinhold and his team. Congratulations also to BMW, as the BMW M4 DTM is a fantastic car. Unfortunately we were not able to achieve what was actually possible today as a team. We will now turn our attention to the remaining races. We try to perform to our very best in every race – and that is precisely what we will do in Zandvoort and Hockenheim.”
Bart Mampaey (Team Principal, BMW Team RBM): “Let’s start with the most important thing: congratulations to Marco Wittmann on winning the title. To be crowned champion two races before the end of the season is really impressive. It is incredible how many points clear he is of everyone else. The conditions were difficult in today’s race. The fact that we started from 20th and 23rd on the grid but were running with both cars in the points at one stage is a good result. The way the race panned out suited us, we did not make any mistakes, and finished seventh with Augusto Farfus. Unfortunately Joey Hand lost time following the incident with Mike Rockenfeller, which is why he was 11th.”
Augusto Farfus (car number 3, BMW Team RBM, 7th): “Marco Wittmann has more than earned the title. He has been by far the fastest man all season. The BMW M4 DTM fit him like a glove right from the word go, and he has done an awesome job. I had an intense race, which I had to approach like a game of poker: I drove conservatively and tried to read the race correctly. It worked out very well. I came through without any incidents. We could not have done any better.”
Martin Tomczyk (car number 10, BMW Team Schnitzer, 8th): “Marco and the BMW M4 DTM are perfectly suited to each other. We saw that as early as the winter tests – and he has confirmed our suspicions in every race. He is the youngest German DTM champion of all time and thoroughly deserves the title. Marco has shown just how fast our car is. It is fantastic to see how he handles the car at his young age. He approaches things without any preconceptions and does not worry about anything. That is a huge advantage. I take my hat off to him. He has really earned this.”
Joey Hand (car number, BMW Team RBM, 11th): “When you start from right at the back, you cannot expect an awful lot. I worked my way through the field well and had a few great battles. Unfortunately there was contact with Mike Rockenfeller and I spun. That caused me to drop back. However, I am still happy with my performance. Congratulations to Marco Wittmann – the ‘Ice Cube’ as I call him. Congratulations also to my old team. BMW Team RMG is a great outfit with excellent guys. And congratulations to BMW, of course. They just seem to know how to win.”
Maxime Martin (car number 24, BMW Team RMG, 14th): “Firstly, congratulations to Marco Wittmann on winning the Drivers’ title. That is fantastic for him, for BMW and for BMW Team RMG. My race was not particularly good. I did get off to a good start and was really quick in the wet, but I started to have problems when the track dried out. Once I had been spun it was just a matter of finishing the race.”
Bruno Spengler (car number 9, BMW Team Schnitzer, 15th): “Marco Wittmann has had a great season. His team has also done a fantastic job and regularly provided him with a good car. He has been quick all year and hardly made a mistake. If you achieve that, you deserve the title. I am pleased for him, and for BMW as a whole. We have won the Drivers’ title again after 2012. Our next goal is to defend the title in the Manufacturers’ Championship.”
Timo Glock (car number 17, BMW Team MTEK, DNF): “Congratulations to Marco Wittmann on the title. He has had an absolutely sensational season. Even at the first tests you could see that he felt right at home in the BMW M4 DTM, and he has been extremely impressive all season. My race was a tough one today. I will move on and look ahead. Zandvoort is a great track, and we will attack again there.”
António Félix da Costa (car number 18, BMW Team MTEK, DNF): “I was hit by Adrien Tambay and skidded off the track. I obviously tried to continue, but it was impossible. I was stuck in the grass. Therefore, my race came to a premature end. However, Marco’s success obviously outshines everything today. He did a fantastic job. Congratulations, champ!”