With car development running at “full speed” though its race debut is still over a year away BMW Motorsport have named the three teams that will carry the Bavarian manufacturer's name into the DTM in 2012. Each of the three teams will be entrusted three of the M3 derived race cars.
While two of the teams – BMW Team RBM and BMW Team Schnitzer – hold no surprises given their experiences in racing BMWs in the past, the final team – Reinhold Motorsport – is a new name, not just to BMW or the DTM, but to racing as a whole.
However, the man behind the team Stefan Reinhold points out the apparent lack of experience ends once you look behind the team name.
“The crew comes from all areas of professional motor racing,” he explained. “From GT racing and the World Rally Championship, as well as DTM and Formula One. Almost all the team members have experience gained in several fields of motorsport. They are used to working at the highest level. Clear communication and the optimal use of experience and resources, as well as uncompromising commitment, are fundamental attributes of the team. Our greatest asset is definitely the people in our team.”
“In late summer 2010 we started with the concrete planning and then applied to BMW with our concept in the autumn,” Reinhold recalled. “The fact that we won BMW Motorsport over with our concept is the perfect reward for the hard work we put in during this phase.”
At the other end of the spectrum both Team RBM and Schnitzer will race under the BMW banner in just another chapter of the connection with the marque.
Schnitzer are almost synonymous with racing BMWs, with connections going back 50 years and including 16 championship titles around the world. In more recent decades Charly Lamm's team have fielded BMWs in Touring Cars, the Le Mans 24 Hours (winning in 2001 with the V12 LMR prototype) and the Nurburgring 24 Hours, winning last season to claim its fifth Nordschleife victory. They have also represented BMW in the DTM before.
“We lined up with the BMW M3 in the DTM for the first time in 1989, and were able to win the title with Roberto Ravaglia at the first attempt,” said Lamm. “The four seasons up to 1992 were a great time, with spectacular and thrilling races, which will always have a special place in the history of Schnitzer. Even back then, the DTM was extremely popular in Germany.”
“It is now almost 20 years since our last DTM race. We are well aware that the series has changed dramatically. The level of competition is extremely high and the series has a far more international flavour to it. As a result, rookies like us face a huge challenge. However, we will approach the task in hand with great verve.”
“We will attempt to readapt to the DTM as quickly as possible. We have great respect for the current manufacturers and teams in the DTM. They have set the bar very high. From now on we will be working on equaling, or even surpassing, the standards they have set as soon as possible.”
Team RBM will return to the track with BMW, having left the World Touring Car Championship over the winter as part of BMW's withdrawal or works backing for the series. The Belgian based team ran Briton Andy Priaulx to three WTCC titles.
“A change of scenery will do us good, particularly when we have the prospect of lining up in a successful series like the DTM,” said team manager Bart Mampaey. “Having won three World Championship titles, everyone in the team is looking forward to seeing how we fair against the other teams in the DTM.”
“While the preparation for this year’s involvement on the endurance racing circuit with the BMW M3 GT is in its final phase, the DTM project has picked up pace over the past few months,” Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director said. “In naming the teams, we have taken the next step. As well as developing the car, it is now a matter of assigning tasks and establishing structures and processes. The cooperation between BMW Motorsport and the teams, as well as that between the team bases and the race track, must be well established. Only then will we make a statement regarding the driving line-up.”