Munich (DE), 12th October 2012. The stage is set for a grand finale: BMW Motorsport travels to the tenth and final round of the 2012 DTM season full of confidence having already picked up four wins and ten podiums. Ahead of the race at the Hockenheimring (DE) [on Sunday at , the best-placed BMW driver is Bruno Spengler (CA), who is second in the drivers’ standings on 124 points, three behind overall leader Gary Paffett (GB, Mercedes). Also within touching distance of the top of the standings is BMW Team Schnitzer. The team from Freilassing (DE) has 143 points to its name in the team competition and trails the leading Mercedes crew by just eight points.
It is almost six months since BMW returned to the DTM at the opening race of the season in Hockenheim after an absence of 20 years from the series. The surprise package back then was Dirk Werner (DE), who qualified third for his first DTM race. It was ultimately three-time World Touring Car Champion Andy Priaulx (GB) who scored the first eight points for BMW, crossing the finish line in sixth.
Martin Tomczyk (DE) also arrives at the 4.574-kilometre circuit highly motivated. Retirements in the last three races mean the 2011 DTM champion will no longer play a role in the race for the top spot in the overall standings. Despite this, Tomczyk is determined to add another success to the three podiums he has already achieved in BMW colours this season.
Augusto Farfus (BR) will take a huge amount of momentum into the race weekend in Hockenheim. After his victory in Valencia (ES), the Brazilian is looking for one more big result before the teams head into the winter break. The same goes for Joey Hand (US). The American is the only BMW driver to have been classified in every race this season.
The three BMW teams can count on well-known supporters at the big DTM finale: former BMW driver and recent winner of two Paralympic gold medals Alessandro Zanardi (IT) will be at the circuit and is certain to have his fingers crossed for the six BMW drivers. Shortly before the start of the race on Sunday, Zanardi will take to the track in the Motodrom on his hand bike, where he is sure to receive a warm welcome from the enthusiastic crowd.
Marco Melandri (IT) will also give a demonstration on the BMW S 1000 RR on Sunday. The 30-year-old claimed six victories for Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport in this year’s FIM Superbike World Championship, ending the season in third place overall. BMW Motorrad finished runner-up in the Manufacturers’ Championship.
Jens Marquardt (BMW Motorsport Director):
“We will come full circle in Hockenheim: that is where we started our first DTM season for 20 years back on 29th April. Now we return to the Hockenheimring for what will undoubtedly be a captivating, and hopefully successful, finale. As the newcomer in this series, we started our debut year with the goal of learning and becoming competitive as quickly as possible. We can already say we have achieved all of our goals. We really did not reckon on winning four of nine races with the BMW M3 DTM against such experienced and strong opposition, or on Bruno Spengler still being in contention for the drivers’ title going into the final race. We have not had a single retirement due to a technical problem and tasted success in record time. That is just reward for the hard work put in by every single member of the team. We literally have nothing to lose at the finale, as we can already class the 2012 season as a huge success. Our performance at the start of the season in Hockenheim was good, although a number of retirements in the race meant we did not get the result we had hoped for after qualifying. I think the DTM fans can look forward to a spectacular final race weekend. Bruno Spengler, Gary Paffett and Jamie Green all have a great season behind them. Although Bruno was taken out through no fault of his own on two occasions, we accept the current standings as they are. All three richly deserve to end the season on top after a fair finale.”
Stefan Reinhold (Team Principal, BMW Team RMG):
“It has been an unbelievably intense debut year for us. The DTM is a fiercely competitive series. As such, we are very pleased to have celebrated three podiums. Along with our home race at the Nürburgring, my own personal highlight was definitely the race in Spielberg, at which Martin Tomczyk claimed our maiden podium finish. That gave the entire team a massive boost. It was proof we are not only capable of holding our own in the DTM, but can also mix it with the front-runners. Hopefully we can get another good result in Hockenheim after three rather disappointing races recently. Our drivers and the whole crew deserve it.”
Charly Lamm (Team Principal, BMW Team Schnitzer):
“Anticipation, tension, suspense: we lined up at our first DTM weekend in Hockenheim with these emotions almost half a year ago. When I think about what has happened since then, I sometimes cannot believe it myself. The past nine races have flown by. It has possibly been the most intense period we have ever experienced in the history of BMW Team Schnitzer. Our comeback season in the DTM has been fantastic so far. We have enjoyed great success with the BMW M3 DTM and are very proud of what we have achieved. It is sensational to arrive at the finale with a chance of winning the title. We will be going all out to end the season on a high in Hockenheim.”
Bart Mampaey (Team Principal, BMW Team RBM):
“I think after the Valencia weekend I can say I will be quite relaxed in Hockenheim and go there with a lot of energy. Certainly we will try to do our best again, but we will be much freer now. We will go there as free spirits and see what it brings for us. I still remember the season-opener in Hockenheim well. We had a good car and we scored BMW’s first points in the DTM for 20 years. What a ride it has been since then! Let's hope we can produce another highlight in Hockenheim.”
Martin Tomczyk (car number 1, BMW Team RMG):
“The finale in front of packed grandstands in Hockenheim will definitely be the highlight of the 2012 season. The BMW fans will once again really drive us forward. My own personal goal is to finally see the chequered flag again after being forced to retire in the last three races. It would obviously be great if I could step onto the podium again at the final race and score valuable points for BMW Team RMG. That would be a good way to end what has been a very successful season for BMW.”
Joey Hand (car number 2, BMW Team RMG):
“Hockenheim has a nice blend of slow and high-speed corners. The hairpin is interesting because you go from sixth to first gear, but then you leave that and go into the stadium section, where you are faced with third and fourth-gear corners. At the opening race in April I felt really good in that part of the track. Now I return with a much better feeling for a DTM car. Granted so will a lot of other guys on the track, but I think I have come from the furthest away and I think if I could close that gap it could be a very good weekend for me in Hockenheim.”
Bruno Spengler (car number 7, BMW Team Schnitzer):
“You obviously cannot compare Hockenheim in April to Hockenheim in October. However, it remains a superb circuit with a bit of everything – whether slow, medium or fast corners. It is great fun driving in Hockenheim. The atmosphere at the finale is always special, and that will be the case again this year too. We were able to gain a lot of experience at this circuit on the first race weekend, so we are not starting from scratch this time. It is fantastic to be just three points behind Gary Paffett in the drivers’ standings. Our goal is obviously to overturn his lead. However, this definitely does not mean we will change our approach. We will go about our job in our usual focussed manner. I am really looking forward to the grand finale to a great season.”
Dirk Werner (car number 8, BMW Team Schnitzer):
“I enjoyed my best DTM qualifying result so far in Hockenheim, finishing third at the season-opener. I hope I can produce a similar performance at the end of the season. The team competition is still wide open. I want to do my bit to ensuring that we have our nose in front come the end of the weekend. Generally speaking I am more than happy with my first season in the DTM. My learning curve has constantly been on the up. My performances in qualifying and races have now stabilised at a good level. However, there is obviously always room for improvement.”
Andy Priaulx (car number 15, BMW Team RBM):
“Hockenheim was one of my best races of the year so I hope I can build on that and end the season on a high. I really want to keep improving. It is a circuit that seems to suit me and my driving style is normally pretty good for there. I think in Oschersleben we made a big step and then again in Valencia, so I hope we can do that again at the final race. When I look at my season it has been tough but we have had promising signs of performance and I want to keep that going and learn for next year.”
Augusto Farfus (car number 16, BMW Team RBM):
“I am looking forward to returning to Hockenheim as we had a very strong race pace at the first round of the season there. I really like the place and the support from the large crowd we got there in April was amazing. I think after the great season we have had going back to Hockenheim, which is a place we know, will be a perfect finale to the season. Of course all the experience we gained and all the lessons we learned in the first race there will be crucial to getting a good result.”