BMW Motorsport celebrated the sensationally successful 2012 season with a glittering party in the hangar of the BMW Driving Academy in Maisach, during which it also presented its plans for the coming year. Under the slogan “Magic Moments”, the 300 guests from all areas of motorsport took another look back at BMW’s return to the DTM, which culminated in a hat-trick of titles, the many successes in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) and the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series in North America, and other racing series around the world, and the 2012 Formula BMW Talent Cup.
“We really have a sensational season behind us,” said BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt. “In the DTM we went head to head against our competitors in the premium segment, and emerged triumphant. Furthermore, BMW drivers won races and titles in a whole host of different championships, emphatically demonstrating the sportiness and performance of our cars in the process. It all just goes to show that BMW and motorsport belong together.”
Thoughts also turned to the future, however. Marquardt used the celebrations to announce further details of BMW Motorsport’s programme for the 2013 season. BMW will line up with eight cars instead of six in next season’s DTM. New to the outfit is BMW Team MTEK with Team Principal Ernest Knoors. BMW Team Schnitzer, BMW Team RBM and BMW Team RMG will also represent the brand again. The six successful DTM drivers – champion Bruno Spengler, Augusto Farfus, Joey Hand, Andy Priaulx, Martin Tomczyk and Dirk Werner – also return in 2013. “All six of our drivers produced very good performances last season and contributed to BMW Motorsport winning the Manufacturers’ Championship,” said Marquardt. “For that reason, it is a logical step to put our faith in our sextet again in 2013.”
Marquardt also announced that current BMW Motorsport test and development driver Marco Wittmann would join the ranks as the seventh driver. “Marco spent the 2012 season preparing intensively for this opportunity,” he said. “He was a permanent part of the team throughout the entire year and was present in every meeting. He knows the processes just as well as the other drivers. Furthermore, his tests in the BMW M3 DTM showed he is more than capable of coping with the DTM. As such, he fully deserves a DTM seat in 2013.” The driver to occupy the cockpit in the eighth DTM next season will be announced at a later date.
The same goes for the BMW driver line-up in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). BMW will again compete in this series next year. However, they will no longer be using the BMW M3 GT. Instead, BMW Motorsport and BMW of North America will turn to the new GTE version of the BMW Z4 GT3. “This change in model shows that we are focussing fully on the BMW Z4 as an all-encompassing GT car,” said Marquardt. “The BMW Z4 GT3 has been very successful on the GT3 scene in recent years, and has proven its ability to win races. I am confident this car will also play a major role as a GTE car in the ALMS.” The BMW M3 GT has been in action in the ALMS since 2009. It was with this car that BMW and BMW Team RLL won the team and manufacturer titles in the GT class in 2010, and then completed the hat-trick – driver, team and manufacturer titles – in 2011. In total, the car won seven races in four seasons.
The BMW Z4 GT3 also proved to be a successful model last season. BMW Sports Trophy winner Biagi and Stefano Colombo won the Italian GT Championship for BMW Team Italia. BMW drivers also celebrated victories in many other national championships at the wheel of the most prominent member of the product range at BMW Motorsport Distribution. BMW privateers were equally successful in hard-fought international series held in accordance with GT3 regulations: in the FIA GT1 World Championship, the Vita4One Racing team won four races and took the title race right down to the wire. The Marc VDS Racing team narrowly missed out on the title after a dramatic season finale in the Blancpain Endurance Series. BMW Motorsport will line up with the BMW Z4 GT3 again in all these series in 2013. The same applies for the 24-hour classics at the Nürburgring, Spa-Francorchamps and in Dubai. In the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC), the privateers will continue to put their faith in the BMW 320 TC, with which Norbert Michelisz won the Independents' Trophy in 2012. “There are no better ambassadors for the BMW brand than all the racing drivers who do battle for victories at the wheel of a whole host of BMW cars in a wide range of series,” said Marquardt. “Providing privateer teams and drivers with competitive cars and seeing them at the front of the field is in BMW Motorsport’s DNA.”
The next round of BMW’s promotion of junior drivers will continue with the Formula BMW Talent Cup. Marvin Dienst was crowned as the most successful driver on the junior programme in 2012 and is now enjoying financial support from BMW as he takes the next step in his career. Next season, aspiring young drivers will once again attempt to follow in the footsteps of famous Formula BMW graduates like Sebastian Vettel, Nico Rosberg and Nico Hülkenberg. “The promotion of junior drivers has always been an important component of BMW’s motorsport programme,” said Marquardt. “The Formula BMW Talent Cup has continued in this tradition since 2011. It allows talented youngsters, having started out in karting, to take the next step and uses a well-thought-out training programme to guide them towards a career in motor racing. The last two seasons have shown this concept is bearing fruit.”