The opening two rounds of the DTM (German Touring Car Masters) series took place this past weekend at the Oschersleben circuit in Germany, and the BMW entries fought hard but came away with a best finish of fourth between the two races. The 2024 season is the 40th anniversary year for the DTM championship.

There are three BMW entries in DTM this year, all from Schubert Motorsport, which is headquartered just down the road from Oschersleben and finished fourth in the team standings in 2023. Sheldon van der Linde was entered in the #31 M4 GT3, René Rast was in the #33 and Marco Wittmann was driving the #11 car. The Schubert team had tested with the M4 GT3s at Oschersleben prior to the race weekend, and both Wittmann and Rast commented that it isn’t the best track for the M4 GT3, but they almost won the first race.

Marco Wittmann in front in race one before the fuel pressure issue.

After qualifying in a lowly nineteenth position, Marco Wittmann nearly came away with a win thanks to good timing and a great strategy call. The team brought Wittmann in right before a full course caution was called, which put him out in front when the race went green again. He was holding the lead and looked set to take the win until a fuel pressure issue with four minutes to go in the race led to a heartbreaking DNF. Sheldon van der Linde (shown in top photo) was the best-finishing BMW in fourth, while Rene Rast finished in seventh. The win went to the #14 Ferrari of Jack Aitken.

The BMWs didn’t perform well in qualifying for race two. Sheldon van der Linde was the fastest M4 GT3 but was way down in fourteenth, around six-tenths off the pole time of Mirko Bortolotti in a Lamborghini. Rast qualified in sixteenth and Wittmann in nineteenth. Van der Linde got held up when an accident happened in front of him that dropped him to last place but put in an impressive drive to finish sixth at the end. Rast also tangled with a Ferrari but ended up in seventh, while Wittmann finished in tenth. “On Sunday, nothing went right,” said Wittmann. “We didn’t have the pace; the balance was very difficult.” The race two win went to Luca Engstler in a Lamborghini.

René Rast lights up the rear tires.

The Schubert team scored some points in the opening two rounds, but they hope for better weekends ahead. “After qualifying, I said ‘If we have all three cars in the top ten, I’m satisfied,’” said team owner Torsten Schubert. “We achieved that on Sunday. I’m pleased that we could take these points. It’s not only important to win races, but also to collect points. We knew this weekend that the track wasn’t quite optimal for us. Nevertheless, we were able to show consistent race performances with all three cars. The retirement of Marco on Saturday due to fuel issues was frustrating. Now we have to continue collecting points throughout the season, starting with the Lausitzring.”

The next two rounds of the DTM championship will be at the Lausitzring on May 24th-26th. —David Haueter

[Photos courtesy ADAC/Gruppe C Photography]




©2024 BimmerLife™

Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?