The DTM championship held its final pair of races this past weekend at the Hockenheim circuit in Germany, with René Rast finishing on the podium in third in race two. Porsche driver Thomas Preining won both races to win the drivers’ championship, while Porsche team Manthey Racing won the team championship and Porsche won the manufacturers championship.
Defending 2022 champion Sheldon van der Linde was the best placed of the BMW drivers in the championship at fourth in driver points. BMW team Schubert Motorsport finished fourth in the team points and BMW finished fourth behind Porsche, Lamborghini, and Mercedes in the manufacturer’s championship.
Porsche finished one-two in the first race at Hockenheim, while Marco Wittmann was the best of the BMWs in ninth. Sheldon van der Linde finished in 20th in the #1 M4 GT3, while René Rast had a DNF. Rast then put in a fantastic drive in race two in his #33 M4 GT3 to finish on the podium in third after starting 23rd, while van der Linde had a strong last race to finish in fourth.
All in all, it was a disappointing season for BMW, especially after winning the championship in 2022. They had five podium finishes in the first six races, including a win for van der Linde at the Norisring, but then went seven straight races without a podium. BMW had three podiums in the last three races, including a win for Rast at the Red Bull Ring in Austria, but it was too big a hole to climb out of after the seven-race slump. “When you start the year as the defending champion in the driver and team standings, you naturally want to repeat that success,” said Head of BMW M Motorsport Andreas Roos after the race. “In the 2023 season, we didn’t manage to show consistent performance at all race weekends for various reasons with the BMW M4 GT3.”
The 2024 DTM season starts up at Oschersleben on April 26th-28th. —David Haueter
[Photos courtesy ADAC Motorsport]