The DTM season enters its next round on 3rd June 2012. The venue for the fourth round of the season is the Red Bull Ring near Spielberg (AT). Unlike the last race in Brands Hatch (GB), the BMW M3 DTM has already been driven on the 4.326-kilometre circuit. However, the test took place in the summer of last year, when the car was in the early stages of its development, meaning only a certain amount of the data gathered back then can be used to prepare for this race.
After finishing runner-up at Brands Hatch, Bruno Spengler (CA) is the best-placed BMW driver in second in the DTM drivers’ standings. Martin Tomczyk (DE), Augusto Farfus (BR) and Andy Priaulx (GB) occupy seventh to ninth in the standings. In the team competition, BMW Team Schnitzer lies in second before the race in Austria. BMW is currently third in the manufacturers’ standings with 84 points to its name.
Tradition meets the present day in Spielberg. Races were held there as early as 1969, when it was originally known as the Österreichring. The Steiermark region of Austria welcomed Formula 1 for the first time in 1970, just one year after the circuit was opened. The current layout came from the pen of racetrack designer Hermann Tilke (DE). He was at the helm the first time the Österreichring was modified and renamed the A1-Ring, and was also responsible for the second renovation, after which it was called the Red Bull Ring.
The DTM raced at the A1-Ring between 2001 and 2003, and returned to Spielberg in 2011 when reigning DTM champion and current BMW Team RMG driver Tomczyk emerged victorious. The drivers cover 4.326 kilometres per lap. Up and downhill sectors alternate, taking in imposing sections like the Lauda and Rindt corners. The Castrol EDGE and Remus corners also pose a real challenge to the drivers.
Jens Marquardt (BMW Motorsport Director):
“Following our positive results in the first three races, we now move on to Spielberg full of confidence. The fans have many good reasons to look forward to the race weekend in Austria. The three DTM manufacturers are very evenly matched. Fractions of a second are making the difference between a driver qualifying at the very front of the field or back in the pack. It could hardly be more exciting. The 2012 DTM season is very enjoyable – not just for the spectators, but also for every single one of us in the team.”
Stefan Reinhold (Team Principal, BMW Team RMG):
“We are entering uncharted waters again in Spielberg. It is many months since we tested at this circuit, back then we were still in the early stages of developing our car. Furthermore, it was wet back then. Our form is improving dramatically, as proven by Martin Tomczyk’s fourth place in Brands Hatch. The fact that he also set the fastest lap of the race is evidence that we are moving in the right direction at BMW Team RMG. Here’s hoping it stays that way in Austria.”
Charly Lamm (Team Principal, BMW Team Schnitzer):
“Races in Austria always feel like a home race for us, and I am certain that we will once again be greeted by countless BMW enthusiasts and BMW Team Schnitzer fans in Spielberg. We can be more than satisfied with the season so far. Bruno Spengler’s victory at the Lausitzring and second in Brands Hatch showed just how good our package is. BMW has done a fantastic job of developing the BMW M3 DTM. Now it is important to back up this initial positive impression in Spielberg.”
Bart Mampaey (Team Principal, BMW Team RBM):
“We tested in Spielberg last year, so the circuit is not entirely new to us. Austria is one of my favourite countries and I am personally looking forward to the Alps and the lovely surroundings there. It will be an interesting weekend. It is a nice track and I expect there to be big crowds. We will be faced with another new challenge there, but one that we are looking forward to.”
Martin Tomczyk (car number 1, BMW Team RMG):
“I only have good memories of Spielberg. I won at the reopened Ring last year. That was a fantastic weekend. Spielberg offers everything that makes a racetrack interesting and exciting: a long straight, fast corners and big differences in elevation. On top of that you have the beautiful scenery. In Brands Hatch, my team and I showed that we can compete at the front of the field. We want to follow on from that fine performance in Spielberg.”
Joey Hand (car number 2, BMW Team RMG):
“I have not driven on the track in Spielberg yet, but I have heard only good things about the circuit from my BMW team-mates. My preparations for the weekend will initially be about memorising the circuit. To do this, I am watching videos of last year’s race and practicing driving the circuit on my games console. I only have three DTM starts to my name and still have a lot to learn, but I am confident I will make it into the top ten very soon – maybe even in Spielberg.”
Bruno Spengler (car number 7, BMW Team Schnitzer):
“I cannot complain about the season so far, but you just cannot afford to take the DTM for granted. We will have to gain valuable experience with every lap we complete with the BMW M3 DTM in Spielberg. This has worked very well and effectively at all the races so far, and I obviously hope that this will be the case again this time. I really like the circuit. I set the fastest race lap in Spielberg in 2011. If the BMW M3 DTM is as good there as it has been recently, then I should be able to attack at the front of the field again.”
Dirk Werner (car number 8, BMW Team Schnitzer):
“I drove in Spielberg once back in 2003, so I am vaguely familiar with the circuit. The layout looks very interesting. The last two race weekends did not go to plan for me, so I will try again in Austria. I am not happy with the results so far, but am learning from race to race. It is important to take full advantage of the experience gained so far, so that we can set our sights higher up the field. My third place on the grid in Hockenheim showed me what we are capable of.”
Andy Priaulx (car number 15, BMW Team RBM):
“Thanks to our test there, I know what to expect at this track. Racing there is a different matter altogether though. It will definitely be exciting, as the circuit offers many overtaking opportunities, such as the hairpin. Our overall package has huge potential. I am determined to improve, particularly in qualifying. A good grid position will be very important again in Spielberg.”
Augusto Farfus (car number 16, BMW Team RBM):
“We were in Spielberg in July 2011 to test the first version of our DTM car. The data we gathered there might not turn out to be all that valuable, however, as it was raining at the time. I like the track, and it was great fun driving there. The region is beautiful. I hope to have a strong weekend. Our car was good enough to finish higher than 11th at Brands Hatch.”