In the 2019 season, “Circuit Zolder” is back in the DTM calendar. For BMW Motorsport, it marks a return to historic terrain: Zolder is where it all began 35 years ago. The first ever DTM race was held at the racetrack east of Brussels in 1984 – and resulted in BMW finishing first, second, third and fourth.


Harald Grohs secured the historic first DTM win in the BMW 635 CSi; his fellow BMW drivers Udo Schneider, Volker Strycek and Leopold Prince of Bavaria crossed the finish line behind him in second to fourth places. It was a magnificent start to BMW Motorsport’s story of success in the DTM.


The touring car series stopped off at Zolder from 1984 to 1994, and made another guest appearance there in 2002. BMW drivers have contested 21 DTM races at the Belgian track, celebrating nine wins and no fewer than 24 podiums overall. Obviously, Zolder is a good hunting ground for BMW Motorsport.

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I won every opening race. That makes me proud and happy.
Harald Grohs
BMW 635 Csi
The BMW 635 Csi in the pitlane


Aufnahme des BMW 635 Csi von 1984


And how does Grohs describe his winning car from back then, the BMW 635 CSi? “That car was relatively easy to drive in both wet and dry conditions,” he explained. “However, driving it at the limit was a real challenge for us all due to the high steering forces and pedal forces of 90 kilos for the brake and 80 kilos for the clutch.”


Grohs remains closely linked with BMW Motorsport and the DTM to this day, and is on site at many of the races – and so, Zolder is a return to historic terrain also for him.

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The date was 11th March 1984. The newly founded “German Production Car Championship”, now the DTM, entered its maiden season at the ‘Circuit Zolder’. The very first DTM race was 24 laps, and a total of 102.288 kilometres and spectators witnessed plenty of drama at the debut. Hans-Joachim Stuck, also in a BMW 635 CSi, led the field until two laps before the end, when he lost one of his front wheels and was forced to retire from the race. That cleared the way for Harald Grohs, who crossed the finish line with a lead of more than 25 seconds over his pursuers and went down in history as the first ever DTM winner.


“I must say that I was jolly glad to bring home the win in the face of strong competition,” reminisced Grohs 35 years later. It means a great deal to him having won that historic race: “But I didn’t just celebrate that win in the DTM. I won every opening race with all four cars that BMW developed and built for various categories such as the DRM or DTM. That makes me proud and happy.” Back then at Zolder he was disqualified shortly after the race for technical reasons and lost the relevant points in the championship standings, but he was granted the win.

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Harald Grohs
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