BMW caps dream comeback with three titles: Spengler wins DTM drivers’ title, BMW Team Schnitzer tops the team standings and BMW wins the manufacturers' title.
Hockenheim (DE), 21st October 2012.
A dream come true: A fourth win of the season at the wheel of the BMW Bank M3 DTM in the tenth and final DTM race of the year saw Bruno Spengler (CA) win the drivers’ title and cap an outstanding comeback season for BMW Motorsport. BMW also won the manufacturers’ title in Hockenheim (DE), while BMW Team Schnitzer ended the season at the top of the team standings after a dramatic finale. Augusto Farfus (BR), who started from pole position, came home in third to finish the season on the podium. Gary Paffett (GB, Mercedes), who was leading the standings coming into the race, crossed the finish line in second.
Alongside Spengler, Dirk Werner (DE, E-POSTBRIEF BMW M3 DTM) finished fifth to score a further ten valuable points for Team Principal Charly Lamm’s (DE) outfit. Andy Priaulx (GB, Crowne Plaza Hotels BMW M3 DTM) and Joey Hand (US, SAMSUNG BMW M3 DTM) also picked up points in seventh and eighth respectively. In doing so, they played a big role in BMW climbing from third to first in the manufacturers’ standings. Martin Tomczyk (DE, BMW M Performance Parts M3 DTM) came home in 14th having suffered damage to his car in the opening phase of the race.
In a remarkable finale, Spengler was able to leapfrog Paffett at the top of the overall standings. A magnificent start allowed the Canadian to move into the lead on lap one, and he then set about pulling away from the chasing pack– a task made far easier thanks to the excellent pit stops performed by BMW Team Schnitzer. Paffett closed the gap to Spengler consistently after the second round of pit stops, but was unable to catch and overtake the champion, who showed nerves of steel in a dramatic climax to the season. Spengler ends the year on 149 points, just four more than Paffett in second.
After Volker Strycek (DE, 1984), Eric van de Poele (BE, 1987) and Roberto Ravaglia (IT, 1989), Spengler is now the fourth driver to clinch the DTM title in a BMW. BMW Team Schnitzer came through at the end of the season to win the team competition with 178 points.
In the manufacturers’ competition, BMW ended its comeback season in the DTM at the top of the championship on 346 points. Spengler, Farfus, Werner, Priaulx and Hand all finished in the points in Hockenheim – the first time five BMW drivers had come home in the top ten. Together, they picked up 60 points – enough to clinch the manufacturers’ title, despite BMW lining up with just six drivers, while its two rivals fielded eight cars at each race.
BMW Motorsport can look back on a DTM season, in which the three teams and six drivers exceeded all expectations with the BMW M3 DTM. As well as Spengler, who had previously won at the Lausitzring (DE), Nürburgring (DE) and in Oschersleben (DE), Farfus also joined the list of BMW DTM winners in Valencia (ES). BMW also scored a further seven podiums, five pole positions and three fastest laps. All six BMW drivers finished in the points at least twice over the course of the season, with all three teams achieving podium finishes. BMW Team Schnitzer recorded six podiums, while BMW Team RMG and BMW Team RBM both claimed three each.
Spengler was the most efficient driver of the season, scoring an average of 18.6 points per race finished. With 57.7 points per race, the six BMW drivers scored an average of sixteen points more than the eight Mercedes and the eight Audi drivers.
In winning the 2012 title, the BMW M3 has once again proven that it is at home in the DTM. To date, the most successful touring car of all time has 46 DTM wins to its name. Like Spengler this season, van de Poele 1987 and Ravaglia 1989 were also at the wheel of this BMW model when they claimed their DTM titles.
Jens Marquardt (BMW Motorsport Director):
“Sensational. Awesome. Unbelievable. I still cannot believe what has just happened here. Massive congratulations to Bruno Spengler and BMW Team Schnitzer on winning the Drivers’ and Team titles. This is a big day for everyone at BMW Motorsport. We returned to the DTM after an absence of almost 20 years and wanted to be competitive as quickly as possible. Now we are here in Hockenheim, and I am talking about winning three titles in our comeback season. BMW Motorsport has written another chapter in motorsport history today. I am unbelievably proud of my team. It is going to be a long night.”
We take a look back at the milestones achieved since 1984 – from the maiden victory with the BMW 635 CSi in the very first DTM race to the amazing finale to the 2012 season and the hat-trick of titles.
The history of the DTM begins with the first race in Zolder (BE) on 11th March 1984. BMW celebrates victory as well as the top four places, with Harald Grohs (DE) crossing the finishing line first in a BMW 635 CSi. It is Volker Strycek (DE) of Team Gubin, however, who finishes fifth at the finale at the Nürburgring to secure the first title for BMW.
Harald Grohs ends the second season of the DTM third in the drivers’ standings, making him the best-placed BMW driver. He wins again at the wheel of the BMW 635 CSi in Zolder, while Winfried Vogt (DE) triumphs at Mainz-Finthen (DE) in a BMW 323i.
Both Kurt König (DE) and Volker Strycek finish in the top five of the drivers’ standings with the BMW 635 CSi. König also picks up the only BMW victory of the year – the Grenzland-Preis in Zolder.
The BMW M3 makes its DTM debut – and is immediately the car to beat. Harald Grohs, Marc Hessel (DE), Olaf Manthey (DE) and Fabien Giroix (FR) claim five victories in total. The title, however, goes to former BMW Junior driver Eric van de Poele (BE), despite finishing a lowly tenth at the finale at the Salzburgring (AT) due to a puncture.
Markus Oestreich (DE), in a BMW M3, is in the title race right up until the end of the 1988 season. After the last of the 24 rounds, however, he has to settle for fourth place overall.
Roberto Ravaglia (IT) starts the season with two victories in Zolder – and goes on to finish on top after the finale in Hockenheim. BMW M Team Schnitzer and Team Principal Charly Lamm (DE) enjoy a virtually perfect debut season in the DTM. As well as Ravaglia (three victories), Steve Soper (GB, two) and Johnny Cecotto (VE) also win in the BMW M3.
BMW, Audi and Mercedes produce a thrilling three-way battle for the title – just as they do in the 2012 season. BMW claims victory at eight of the 22 races. Despite this, Johnny Cecotto narrowly misses out on the fourth title, having to settle for runner-up.
Fourth-placed Johnny Cecotto is once again the best-placed BMW driver at the end of the year. The Venezuelan wins three races, while fellow BMW driver Steve Soper occupies the top step of the podium on four occasions. Joachim Winkelhock (DE) also joins the list of winners in Wunstorf (DE).
BMW lines up with a works team in the DTM for the last time for a while: Johnny Cecotto again finishes fourth in the Drivers' Championship to end the season as the number one BMW driver. Roberto Ravaglia provides a magical moment at the season finale in Hockenheim on 11th October 1992: he claims two victories in the BMW M3's last works outing in the DTM.
BMW returns to the DTM after almost 20 years and lines up with three teams and six drivers. Among them is once again BMW Team Schnitzer, and it soon becomes apparent history is repeating itself. As in 1989, when Charly Lamm and his team made their debut in the DTM, the crew from Freilassing is the team to beat. Bruno Spengler (CA) wins four races, with Augusto Farfus (BR) adding a fifth triumph for BMW. Together, BMW Team Schnitzer, BMW Team RBM and BMW Team RMG claim 12 podiums over the course of the comeback year. In a thrilling finale to the season in Hockenheim, Spengler overturns a three-point deficit to finish four points ahead of Mercedes driver Gary Paffett (GB). The Canadian, who ends the season with 149 points to his name, becomes the fourth BMW champion in the history of the DTM, following in the footsteps of Volker Strycek, Eric van de Poele and Roberto Ravaglia. A further ten points courtesy of Dirk Werner (DE) sees BMW Team Schnitzer claim the title in the team competition. The icing on the cake is first place in the Manufacturers’ Championship.
HISTORY OF THE 54 WINS