BMW Motorsport announced on December 18 that Lucas Auer will run for the marque in the DTM series in 2020 along with returning drivers Timo Glock, Philipp Eng, Sheldon van der Linde, and two-time series champion Marco Wittmann. Joel Eriksson will not return to DTM in the 2020 season.
Auer raced for Mercedes until it left the series at the end of the 2018 season to focus its attention on Formula E. In his four years with Mercedes, Auer, 25, won four races. He ran in the Japanese Super Formula series in 2019 and also participated in selected endurance races for Mercedes.
A day before the announcement that Auer would join the team, BMW indicated that Bruno Spengler, who had run for BMW in DTM since 2012, when he won the drivers’ championship, would be moving from DTM to IMSA in 2020. He will co-drive with Connor De Phillippi in the #25 BMW Team RLL M8 GTE.
BMW motorsport director Jens Marquardt said, “Welcome back to the DTM, Lucas Auer. I am obviously particularly happy, not only to be able to welcome him back to the DTM, but also to welcome him into the BMW family. In his 73 DTM races so far, Lucas has emphatically shown what he is capable of and, with four wins and ten podiums, has proven that he can mix it at the very front of the field. We believe that he will fit in very well with us, not only because of his huge potential as a driver, but also his friendly nature.”
Speaking about the team’s returning drivers, Marquardt added, “We have gone for continuity with four of our drivers for next season. With his speed and incredible consistency, Marco Wittmann is a top performer in our DTM squad every season. He nearly always makes the very most of any opportunities he gets. Timo Glock was very unfortunate last season. However, there is no doubting his pace at the wheel of the BMW M4 DTM. Philipp Eng performed fantastically in 2019, particularly in the first half of the season. Hopefully he can build on that next year. Sheldon van der Linde impressed us in his rookie season. We see great potential in him, which he will hopefully fulfil more often in 2020.”
The December 18 announcement accounts for five of the six drivers that BMW will run in DTM; a sixth driver will be named later. Both BMW factory driver Nick Yelloly and Robert Kubica, who is coming off a season running for Williams in Formula One, tested the M4 DTM in Spain earlier in the month.
BMW has not yet provided information on DTM team assignments for 2020.
In previous seasons BMW announced all of its professional driver and team lineups on a single day in December. This year the announcements are being staged at different times. IMSA was announced on the 17th, DTM on the 18th, and Formula E driver lineups had been announced well in advance of the series’ season opener in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia in November. Drivers for the major endurance races beyond IMSA, including the Intercontinental GT Challenge Series and individual races such as the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring and the FIA GT World Cup race in Macau, among others, have not yet been named.—Brian Morgan
[Photos of Jens Marquardt and Lucas Auer and photo of Marco Wittmann’s car courtesy BMW Motorsport.]