Official release: Another successful DTM season for BMW Motorsport drew to a close in Hockenheim (DE). With four wins, 16 podiums, six pole positions and the title win by Marco Wittmann (DE), the four BMW teams once again produced numerous highlights in the fifth year since BMW returned to the popular touring car series. In our DTM review, we look back on the big stories from an eventful 2016, from a BMW Motorsport point of view.
Fast as a champion: Wittmann claims title number 2.
The combination of speed, cleverness and consistency has a name: Marco Wittmann (DE). As in 2014, when he won the title in only his second DTM season, the BMW Team RMG driver came out on top over strong competition once again this year – and lifted the champion’s trophy at the finale in Hockenheim (DE). No other driver has won more races over the past four years than Wittmann. In 56 races, he has crossed the finish line first on eight occasions. He also has 15 podium finishes and eight pole positions to his name. The 26-year-old celebrated three wins this season. The third race in Spielberg (AT) was the first round he finished in first place at the wheel of the Red Bull BMW M4 DTM this season. This was followed by a further two wins, in Moscow (RU) and at the Nürburgring (DE).
All good things come in threes: BMW Team RMG is the top BMW crew again.
After nine DTM race weekends, BMW Team RMG finished runner-up in the Team competition with 290 points, making it the best-placed BMW team for the third season in a row. Timo Glock (DE) had joined Stefan Reinhold’s (DE) squad ahead of the first race in Hockenheim – and the experienced driver quickly found his feet at BMW Team RMG. His first win came in the fourth race of the season, which was held on the Sunday at the Red Bull Ring (AT). This was Glock’s third victory in the DTM. The constant force in the team was once again Marco Wittmann, who picked up points in 15 of 18 races – and ended up clinching the drivers’ title with 206 points. The team from Andernach (DE), in the Eifel region of Germany, has been competing in the DTM since BMW rejoined the series and has established itself as one of the most successful outfits. The big breakthrough came in 2014, with Wittmann’s first title win and success in the Team competition. Since then, BMW Team RMG has become a permanent fixture at the front of the field. After five years in the DTM, the team has 11 wins, 22 podiums, nine pole positions and six fastest laps to its name. Its closest rivals among the other BMW teams in 2016 was BMW Team RBM from Belgium, which finished third overall with 203 points for Tom Blomqvist (GB) and Maxime Martin (BE).
Closer than ever: pure excitement in the 2016 DTM season.
In 2016, the DTM showed once again why it is regarded as one of the hardest-fought touring car series in the world. Ten different drivers were victorious over the course of the year, including BMW’s Marco Wittmann and Timo Glock. Together, the BMW Team RMG drivers won four races in 2016. The first of these victories came courtesy of Wittmann on the Saturday at the Red Bull Ring (AT). He claimed the 70th success for BMW in the manufacturer’s 250th appearance in the DTM. Glock then won Sunday’s race to complete a double success for BMW in Spielberg. In Moscow it was Wittmann who crossed the finish line first again in a top-four lock-out for BMW. Success in the Sunday race at the “Moscow Raceway” was Wittmann’s seventh win in the 50th race of his DTM career. It also represented the tenth victory for BMW Team RMG in the outfit’s 60th race in the DTM, as well as the 72nd time in DTM history that a BMW driver had climbed onto the top step of the podium. Race 13 of the year also proved to be a lucky one for Wittmann, who won again on the Saturday at the Nürburgring. Tom Blomqvist of BMW Team RBM came home second to complete BMW’s second one-two of the 2016 season.
In total, 18 different drivers made it onto the DTM podium in 2016. BMW was represented on the podium on 16 occasions. As well as Wittmann, Glock and Blomqvist, António Félix da Costa (PT), Augusto Farfus (BR), Maxime Martin and Bruno Spengler (CA) also claimed top-three finishes. So each of the BMW teams celebrated at least one podium finish in 2016. However, only Bart Mampaey’s (BE) BMW Team RBM managed to land both drivers on the podium. Blomqvist and Martin stood side-by-side on the podium after finishing second and third in the Sunday race at the Norisring.
The battle for grid positions also provided plenty of variety in 2016. Twelve different drivers started races from pole position, with a BMW driver leading the way on six occasions. Wittmann was the fastest man in qualifying at the Red Bull Ring (Saturday), in Moscow (Sunday) and at the Nürburgring (Saturday). Blomqvist started from pole position for the first time in his fledgling DTM career at the Norisring (DE, Sunday). Félix da Costa drew his DTM career to a successful close with two pole positions at the season finale in Hockenheim. The spectators at the city race in Nürnberg had previously enjoyed one of the closest qualifying sessions of the year. All 24 cars were within 0.430 seconds of each other.
Not only was qualifying a close affair, but so were the races themselves. Nineteen different drivers led the field at some point over the course of the 18 races. Of the BMW drivers, Wittmann spent the most time at the front of the field. He led the way for a total of 86 laps. Blomqvist, at the wheel of the Ice-Watch BMW M4 DTM, spent the second longest amount of time leading races for BMW – namely 41 laps. Blomqvist is also one of the three BMW drivers who set a fastest lap in 2016. His time of 48.328 seconds on Sunday at the Norisring was the fastest of the race. Félix da Costa and Glock were the fastest drivers in the races on Saturday and Sunday at the finale in Hockenheim. In total, 11 different drivers clocked fastest laps in the 2016 DTM.
Good-bye, DTM: Tomczyk and Félix da Costa bid farewell.
The finale in Hockenheim was the final appearance on the DTM stage for two BMW Motorsport drivers. Martin Tomczyk (DE) and António Félix da Costa (PT) have called time on their careers in the popular touring car series. They will, however, remain part of the BMW Motorsport family. Tomczyk will focus on international GT racing in the future, while Félix da Costa concentrates fully on his commitment in the FIA Formula E Championship.
Tomczyk was one of the figureheads of the DTM, which had been his sporting home since 2001. Only eight drivers in the history of the DTM have contested more races than the man from Rosenheim (DE). His most successful DTM season came in 2011, when he won the Drivers’ title. The following year he moved to BMW Motorsport and embarked on a new chapter in the DTM, scoring points and podiums for BMW Team RMG and BMW Team Schnitzer. Félix da Costa made his DTM debut for BMW Motorsport in 2014. At the same time, he also took to the track as a test and reserve driver for the Red Bull Racing Formula 1 team. Félix da Costa has also been racing in Formula E since the inaugural season in 2014/15. The driver from Cascais (PT) first, contested ten races for BMW Team MTEK in the DTM, before switching to BMW Team Schnitzer ahead of the 2015 season. His greatest success came on 12th July 2015 in Zandvoort (NL), where he led the race from start to finish to round off a perfect Sunday. He had previously secured the first pole position of his DTM career, two further pole positions followed at the 2016 season finale in Hockenheim.
Precision pit stops: “Best Pit Stop Award” for BMW Team MTEK.
Pit stops in the DTM are all about speed and precision. It is vital that the crew works in perfect harmony during a tyre change. Nobody achieved this better in 2016 than BMW Team MTEK. Over the course of the year’s 18 races, no other team took less time to get their cars back out onto the track after the pit stop. Team principal Ernest Knoors’ (NL) crew performed the fastest tyre change of the race on Bruno Spengler’s BMW Bank M4 DTM in Spielberg (AT) and at the Lausitzring (DE). They were also second and third fastest at the Nürburgring (DE) and in Budapest (HU). This effort ensured BMW Team MTEK received the “Best Pit Stop Award 2016”, presented each year by tyre maker Hankook.