On December 17 BMW Motorsport announced that Bruno Spengler would move from DTM to IMSA in 2020, where he will race for Team RLL. Later in the day BMW announced that the other three drivers on the team would be John Edwards, Jesse Krohn, and Connor De Phillippi, all of whom ran with Team RLL in 2019. Tom Blomqvist, who co-drove with De Phillippi in 2019, is leaving the team; BMW has not announced other plans for him.
Spengler has run in DTM for fifteen years, winning the title for BMW in 2012, the year it returned to the series. He ran in DTM for Mercedes from 2005–2011, and with BMW from 2012 through 2019. In addition to running for Team RLL in 2020, Spengler will retain his role as a reserve driver for BMW i Andretti Motorsport in the ABB Formula E Series.
BMW motorsport director Jens Marquardt said, “Very few drivers have had as big an influence on the DTM as Bruno Spengler has in the past fifteen years. In winning the title in his first season for BMW in 2012, he achieved something that nobody believed possible at the time. In doing so, he earned a permanent place in the history of BMW Motorsport. Of the 122 DTM races he has contested for us, he won seven. His latest victory at the Norisring last season was another very emotional one. The fact that he broke the 1,000-point mark in his fifteenth season in 2019 underlines the outstanding status that Bruno has earned for himself in the DTM. Nevertheless, we were of the opinion that 2020 is the right time to head in a new direction together for the coming years. This decision was not an easy one for us. However, as we do at the end of every season, we took a very close look at our squad of drivers and are confident that Bruno, with all his experience, can help us make progress in the IMSA series. He will also be used as a reserve and test driver in Formula E. I am happy that we are able to keep Bruno as a valuable member of the BMW family. We will ensure that he can bid a worthy farewell to BMW fans in the DTM next year.”
Spengler noted that he was surprised with the change. He said, “Firstly, I am obviously disappointed that I will no longer be racing in the DTM in 2020. I had a fantastic time for 15 years, during which time the DTM became part of my family. I have been racing in the DTM for almost half of my life. In my 195 races, I have enjoyed some fantastic success—above all, of course, my title win with BMW at Hockenheim in 2012. This title win will forever be very closely linked to Charly Lamm for me. As a sportsman, I would obviously have liked to have stuck around for a few more years. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all my mechanics and engineers who I have worked with all these years, and with whom I have celebrated so many successes. Even though it has come as something of a surprise to me that I won’t be contesting my 16th DTM season, I’m looking ahead. I feel right at home in the BMW family, am about to face a new challenge, and am ready to write a new chapter in my career. I know the BMW M8 GTE, BMW Team RLL and some of the circuits in North America. As such, I think I will find my feet quickly there. For me as a Canadian, it will certainly be a highlight to line up at a genuine home race for the first time in a long time, at the race at Mosport in the summer. I will really miss the DTM fans. I am looking forward to saying ‘goodbye’ to them in 2020.”
Spengler will co-drive with Connor De Phillippi in the #25 Team RLL M8 GTE. Colin Herta and Phillipp Eng will join them in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Edwards and Krohn will continue as teammates in the #24 M8 GTE, with Augusto Farfus and Chaz Mostert joining them at Daytona.
Team principal Bobby Rahal said, “Once again BMW has given us a really good core of drivers to compete with in 2020. I’m pleased with the continuity we have with John Edwards, Connor De Phillippi and Jesse Krohn returning. It is always a good thing to be able to build on the foundation you have created when possible. Bruno Spengler is a really good team player and will be a great addition. I have a lot of respect for him and everything he has done in the DTM. We are happy that Augusto Farfus, Colton Herta, and Philipp Eng, who helped us win the 2019 Rolex 24 at Daytona, will be returning to the line-up for that race and are also looking forward to welcoming Chaz Mostert back. We thank Tom Blomqvist for his commitment to the team this season and wish him luck in his endeavors.”
The 2020 Rolex 24 will be run on January 25–26. De Phillippi, Farfus, Herta, and Eng teamed to win the Rolex 24 in 2019.—Brian Morgan
[Photos courtesy BMW Motorsport.]