Canadian driver Bruno Spengler has capped off a thrilling season climax in Hockenheim to win the final race of the 2012 DTM season. In doing so he not only clinched the drivers’ championship for himself, but also did his bit in securing the manufacturer’s title for BMW.
Adding further to BMW’s successful return to touring car racing Spengler’s four wins from the 10 race calendar played a pivotal role in helping BMW Team Schnitzer to win the teams’ trophy.
Highlighting the close-fought nature of the DTM category BMW entered the final round in third place in the manufacturers’ standings. Meanwhile, Spengler was behind Mercedes driver Gary Paffett, who finished second in Hockenheim. Alas for Paffett, second was also where he finished on the final season tally, just four points adrift of Spengler.
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.”