Munich, 20th August 2012. Victory at the Nürburgring (DE) saw Bruno Spengler (CA) increase his points tally in the DTM Drivers’ Championship to 83, putting him in second place going into the seventh race of the season. BMW Team Schnitzer is third in the Team Championship on 84 points. After the triumph in the Eifel Mountains, Spengler and Team Principal Charly Lamm (DE) spoke in an interview about their emotions, the season so far, and the forthcoming races.
Bruno, Charly, how are you feeling after the victory at the Nürburgring?
Bruno Spengler: “When I won at the Lausitzring, I found it difficult to take in what had happened. It was the 50th victory for BMW and the first of its comeback season. We made history there. The race at the Nürburgring was all about the 40th birthday of BMW M. In addition, the Green Hell is something of a home track for BMW, so this was another very special success. I am overjoyed and really proud.”
Charly Lamm: “I agree entirely. I have to say the victory at the Nürburgring felt completely different to the triumph at the Lausitzring. Back then, everything seemed to happen ridiculously quickly and we were still DTM newcomers really. Now we are far more aware of what awaits us in this series. As such, the second win was special because we did not really find our form at the start of the weekend and had to gradually find the optimal set-up. Then everything came together in the race – and Bruno produced an immense performance.”
Two wins, two pole positions and second place in the drivers’ standings: can you believe how well BMW Team Schnitzer is doing in the DTM at the moment?
Lamm: “No. Actually, I really cannot believe how our comeback season is panning out. We approached the challenge of returning to the DTM with BMW with huge respect. We pretty much started from scratch and threw ourselves into the work. It is unbelievable to be so well placed and have two wins to our name after six races. The team has faced up to the challenge of the DTM, taken on a lot of new things, and invested a lot of energy in this project. BMW Motorsport has developed a great car. The success we have enjoyed so far is just reward for the hard work put in by all involved.”
Spengler: “Yes. Basically, our car is really good – as are the guys at BMW Team Schnitzer. They always want to win, and the same goes for me. That was also my approach to my first season with BMW. However, at the start we did not know how we would compare to the opposition. It relatively quickly became clear we are up there with the front-runners. That is fantastic and shows just how well BMW Motorsport and BMW Team Schnitzer have worked.”
Bruno, what role have Charly Lamm and BMW Team Schnitzer played in your success?
Spengler: “It is and remains an honour for me to drive for BMW Team Schnitzer. Even when I was just a kid my father used to rave about Schnitzer. That is pure motorsport history. However, the team is proving week after week that it is still unbelievably strong here and now. Only a very few members of the team had any DTM experience prior to the start of the season. However, the team has learned at record speed. We are now consistently completing pit stops in 3 to 3.5 seconds. That is the sign of a top team. Charly is a fantastic team principal. You can sense his experience and he is never anything but cool when pressure situations arise. That never fails to impress me. It means a lot to me that I am now able to add new chapters to the success story of BMW Team Schnitzer.”
Charly, you really do get the impression BMW Team Schnitzer is still hungry for success. Is that an accurate assessment?
Lamm: “Definitely. We have been around for a long time and have certainly gained experience in the past that is helping us now. At BMW Team Schnitzer, we are proud of our tradition and the success we have enjoyed with BMW in the past. However, we are not simply standing around and looking dreamily into the past. Instead we are working hard every day to achieve new victories – like this one at the Nürburgring. The DTM is a very special series and you have to do a lot of things completely differently to in other championships. I think, over the course of the season so far, we have shown we are capable of overcoming the new challenge and being successful again in 2012.”
If you had to write a reference for Bruno, how would it look after six races?
Lamm: “Just look at his performance at the Nürburgring: he went about his task in qualifying aggressively and did not make a single mistake. He was always able to qualify quickly for the next session and managed to save two sets of tyres. He then drove a perfect race and withstood any pressure he may have been under. Bruno adds a lot of DTM experience to the team, which is undoubtedly good for us. At the same time he is able to motivate the crew, is always willing to listen, has a lot of time for the fans, and does not allow anything to unsettle him. BMW Team Schnitzer has always had drivers who were particularly comfortable with a certain car or challenge and who were perfectly suited to the team. That is definitely the case with Bruno in the DTM.”
What are your expectations for the remaining four races?
Spengler: “I am obviously pleased I am only 20 points behind Gary Paffett. However, we would be well advised to approach the remaining four races in exactly the same way as we have the first six. So far we have managed to find our feet quickly on new circuits. If we pull that off again in Zandvoort and Oschersleben, where the only experience we have is from testing during the early stages of the development of our car, we should be up there with the leaders again. We are taking it one race at a time, then we will see where we end up come the end of the season.”
Lamm: “Exactly. We are certainly not going to take our foot off the gas now, and will continue to focus on the task in hand. The race calendar does not allow us to ease off anyway. The pack will be reshuffled again this weekend in Zandvoort.”