After completing a switch from Mercedes to new entries BMW for 2012 Bruno Spengler is a man prepared for a tough season as part of the team bringing the manufacturer back to the series.
“Moving to BMW is a new challenge for me,” says the Canadian. “To be part of a project like this from the very beginning, and to work with a completely new team and one of the largest automobile brands in the world – that is very interesting and exciting for a racing driver like me. That was the main reason for my move. I also got on very well with BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt right from the word go. It is a real pleasure to see the motivation shown by everyone involved. I am looking forward to the future and am very proud to be representing BMW.”
A new rules formula for the 2012 season means new cars, not only for BMW, but for Audi and Mercedes, who are continuing their participation in the championship. As testing continues in preparation for the new season Spengler will join several of his new BMW teammates at the Monteblanco circuit in Spain – something he admits to being nervous about.
Spengler, who has narrowly lost out in the championship on several occasions is just one of the latest signings for what is becoming a star-studded BMW line-up. Former WTCC drivers Augusto Farfus and Andy Priaulx will move into the series after a season as part of BMW Motorsports' endurance racing program.
Furthermore, after becoming the first man to win the DTM championship in an older-spec car this year Martin Tomczyk will become the de facto team leader among the BMW drivers. The move also brings together Spengler – who has only driven for Mercedes since he entered DTM and Tomczyk, who has driven exclusively for rivals Audi.
“Spengler confides; “If someone had told me at the start of last season that Martin and I would be driving for the same brand, I would scarcely have believed them. I really wouldn’t have expected that back then. However, I am pleased we are both driving for BMW now. We have known each other for years. I’ve been around since 2005, and Martin has been racing in the series for even longer. I was still driving Formula 3 when Martin was already a DTM driver. He has a wealth of experience and it is good to have him on our side. It does not make a huge difference to me, however. We will all be working together to push the team forward.”
“He is a very good driver, and reigning champion. With that in mind, I think we have a very good team. However, it is still much too early to judge just how good we will actually be. We have to work from test to test and gain as much experience as possible – then we will see.”
Could BMW's decision to bring in two of the DTM's biggest names prove productive, especially in developing the M3 DTM over the coming winter.
“You have to have a certain rivalry,” Spengler says, “as that spurs you on. You must always try to optimise the car and the performance. To do this, everyone pushes themselves to the limit and finds new areas, in which they can improve. That is how you move forward, and move the team forward.”
Despite that statement and the experience on the growing team Spengler is wary of expectations growing too large, emphasising that, although testing has been ongoing for months the 2012 season will be the first year of the DTM program proper.
“The team still has little experience when it comes to pit stops and race strategies,” he explains. “These are all new things that play an important role. For that reason, we must first be well prepared before we can set ourselves the goal of winning the championship. It goes without saying, however, that we would like to finish as high up as possible straight away.”
“[However] as a racing driver and as a team you always want to win races as soon as possible. With that in mind, our goal is to challenge at the front of the field, finish on the podium, and start winning races as quickly as possible.”