It has been an up and down year for BMW teams in the DTM championship. Sheldon van der Linde won both races at the Lausitzring in Germany in late May, but the best any BMW could do in the two races at the Imola circuit in Italy in mid-June was Marco Wittmann’s third-place podium finish, as Audi drivers finished one-two in both races. “What a weekend!” said Wittmann after the race. “After the two disappointing events at the start of the season, we have taken a big step forward as a team. For this reason, the results here at Imola are really satisfying.”
Another highlight for BMW fans during the Imola weekend was the return of works driver Timo Glock to DTM competition. Glock had raced in DTM in prior years but has been competing in the Italian GT championship with Ceccato Racing and co-driver Jens Klingmann this season. The DTM entry was a one-off event (for now) as the team considers an entry in the series. Glock finished eleventh in the first race but had a DNF in the second after being involved in a collision.
Going into the Norisring rounds in Germany this past weekend, Sheldon van der Linde still held the lead in the drivers’ championship but would give that position up by the end of the weekend. Race one was a crash-fest on the narrow street circuit in Nuremberg, and van der Linde was one of several drivers involved in wrecks that ended their race, as was Marco Wittmann, who was hoping to have a good result since the Norisring is his home track. Porsche drivers finished one-two in race one, with the best BMW finish coming from Philipp Eng who ended up in fifth.
The drivers were much more careful in race two and avoided the carnage of race one, but there was only one BMW driver in the top ten, with Wittmann in fourth as the race was won by Felipe Fraga in his Red Bull Racing Ferrari. Van der Linde finished in fifteenth and gave up the driver’s championship lead to Lamborghini driver Mirko Bortolotti. “I am disappointed to have failed to score points at a weekend for the first time this season,” said van der Linde. “Up until now, I had actually been in the points in every race. However, it did not go to plan at all here. We now have plenty of time during the summer break to analyze what went wrong, plus we will prepare for the second half of the season with some tests. I am very confident that we will return to form after the break.”
A highlight for DTM fans this season has been the DTM Classic races, where drivers compete in cars that have been on the grid in years past. There are upwards of twenty cars entered in these races, and BMW fans can see models from years past out on the track again, including the E30 M3 and the 635CSi. BMW works driver Bruno Spengler competed in an E36 3 Series car at the Norisring, and BMW E30 M3 driver Kris Nissenn leads the points standings in his class.
The next round of the DTM is at the Nürburgring on the weekend of August 26th-28th. —David Haueter
[Photos by DTM]