Following the decisions of Maxime Martin and Tom Blomqvist to leave the DTM Series, Phillip Eng has been promoted to the BMW team along with Joel Eriksson.
Eng took his first steps into motorsport in Formula BMW with much of his career spent surrounding the DTM circus. He returned to the BMW family in 2016 and returned to winning ways at the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps. In 2017 he was in contention for the ADAC GT Masters title until the season finale.
For 2017 the Austrian will race as part of BMW’s Team RBM as well as taking part in selected GT races.
“At first, I could not take it in at all – and to be honest, I still cannot quite believe it. The DTM has accompanied me throughout much of my career, because I spent a few years in support series and have often been involved for BMW in the DTM environment during the past two years. My dream was always to one day drive the BMW M4 DTM. I fulfilled that dream with my test. The fact that I am now actually a regular driver is incredible.
“It is clear to me that the standard in the DTM is possibly higher than any other race series. That makes it a big challenge for me. However, what do they say? When the going gets tough, the tough get going. René Rast showed last year, in winning the title, that anything is possible in the DTM – even for a rookie. I’m really looking forward to the 2018 season – I am living my dream.”
Rast’s rookie performance in the DTM will be a feat hard for Eng to repeat though if circumstances play out his way it is not impossible to rule out.
Over his years in motorsport Eng has had experience in a variety of different machinery.
“I have driven the BMW M4 DTM, the BMW M8 GTE, the BMW M6 GT3 and the BMW M4 GT4 – and they are all fun in their own way. The BMW M4 DTM stands out with its uncompromising handling. The BMW M8 GTE has developed in an extremely positive direction during the tests that I have joined. Its sound is particularly impressive. I have spent the most time in the BMW M6 GT3 over the past two years, both in races and in testing. For a GT car, it has a lot of downforce, which means it is great fun on the Nordschleife and at Spa-Francorchamps in particular. It goes without saying that the BMW M4 GT4 is no competition for the other cars mentioned, but it is also great to drive, and in my opinion is the perfect customer car for privateers.”
The Austrian has also had the opportunity to taste Formula One machinery as a result of his time in Formula BMW.
“I was lucky enough to be supported by both BMW and Red Bull at the same time. I started well in 2006, but then I was a bit too cocky and lost the rookie standings to my now BMW colleague Jens Klingmann. Then the year after that I lost out to Jens once again, but got my revenge at the BMW world finale in Valencia. I won there, beating Marco Wittmann and Jens Klingmann, and my reward was a test drive in a Formula 1 car.
“It’s almost ten years ago, but I still remember it really well. For an 18-year-old I think I did really well. The feeling back then was similar to the BMW M4 DTM these days, only the brakes, aerodynamics and weight in the Formula 1 car were even more extreme. I still enjoy looking at the photos of me in the Formula 1 cockpit today.”
Eng will gain his first DTM racing experience at Hockenheim 4-6 May as the 2018 season kicks off.