The DTM continues to celebrate thirty years of racing as one of the most internationally-recognized touring car series is the world, but there is one driver that stands at the top of the series’ history books, who has rightfully earned the moniker of “Mr. DTM.”
Bernd Schneider is the man that has secured 5 titles during his thirteen-year tenure in the category, with the first being captured as a works Mercedes-Benz driver back in 1995.
That same year, he also piloted the D2 AMG-Mercedes run C-Class V6 in the International Touring Car series to title glory, coming second in 1996, before returning to the revitalized DTM back in 2000.
The works AMG driver, who now competes in the GT program for the Stuttgart brand, made his way up through the ranks like any budding young hopeful through karting and the German Formula 3 Championship.
He won that title in 1987, and was promptly signed to the Zakspeed outfit in Formula One during the 1988 and 1999 seasons. The German outfit was not on the same level when it came to competitiveness, as Schneider was only able to qualify for a total of nine races during those two seasons, before switching to Arrows briefly for 1990.
He’s also raced at Le Mans three times, having raced for Joest Porsche Racing in 1991 and AMG-Mercedes in the CLK-LM for 1998 and 1999, but all three races. His team-mate in the first outing with Stuttgart for sportscars in 1998 was in the FIA GT Championship, was current Porsche LMP1 driver Mark Webber, with the pair winning five races that season. They eventually were beaten to the title by fellow stablemates Klaus Ludwig and Riccardo Zonta.
Ludwig was also a fierce competitor for Schneider in the DTM and ITC, with the former having racked up the most points over their career in touring cars, with the likes of Manuel Reuter, Christian Danner, Alessandro Nannini, Ellen Lohr and Frank Biela getting into the thick of the action.
Over the years he has raced in the DTM, he’s won 43 races, with his first happening during the 1992 season. As a fresh-faced 17-year-old fighting off Lohr for the win in his 190E 2.5-16 Evo 2, he had his first taste of glory in the DTM at the famed 8.3km AVUS track, based in the south west of Berlin.
He also secured pole position 25 times, as well as clocking up 60 fastest laps in the process. His last title was won in 2006, just two years before his “first” retirement after the completion of the 2008 championship.
The length of time that Schneider has remained competitive is rather impressive, when you consider the fact that eight of the current line-up in the DTM were racing against him back then, with the seven champions that are present in this anniversary year being part of the action back then.
Even in the later stages of his racing, the 49-year-old is well-known and highly respected across the globe, and made his return to the world of endurance racing. His successes to date are victories in the 24 Hours of Dubai, the Nürburgring 24 Hours and the Spa 24 Hours and the Bathurst 12 Hours.
His links to Mercedes-Benz are as strong as ever, having driven the SLS AMG to victory and will travel the globe in search of wins and recently partnered fellow former DTM-alumni Maro Engel at Mount Panorama in January of this year, with the latter taking Pole Position for an event rising in status. The hunger still burns strongly for Schneider, who looks to continue at full-throttle for many years to come.