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The wait is over for the DTM fans: the new season of the popular touring car series begins this weekend in Hockenheim (DE). At the wheel of their eight BMW M4 DTMs, the BMW drivers have their sights set on good results in the first two races of the year, as they look to thrill spectators at the iconic 4.574-kilometre circuit.P90215289_lowRes_hockenheim-de-08th-a

BMW Motorsport enters its fifth year in the DTM since returning to the series in 2012. During this period, seven of a possible 12 titles have gone to Munich. Last time out, the BMW drivers produced an impressive team performance to secure the Manufacturers’ title. In a year that marks the centenary of the BMW Group and the BMW brand, the four BMW teams – RMG, MTEK, RBM and Schnitzer – are looking to add another chapter to the company’s success story.

Much will be new when the first of this season’s 18 races in the most popular touring car series in the world gets underway at just after 16:00 on Saturday. Among the changes are those to the performance weight regulations. In 2016, this is based on theoretically the fastest qualifying time of each brand. This will ensure that the cards are reshuffled before each race. In the race itself, the drivers will be faced with the new strategic challenge of carefully considering the use of the Drag Reduction System (DRS), and timing its activation perfectly, as it may only be used a certain number of times. At the opening round in Hockenheim, the drivers will be able to use 39 activations over the course of the 40-minute race on Saturday, and 57 in Sunday’s 60-minute race.

ARD will once again broadcast all the DTM races live in 2016. Race one begins at 16:03 on Saturday. The teams and drivers then resume their battle for points and victory in race two at 14:33 on Sunday.

Quotes ahead of the opening race weekend of 2016 in Hockenheim.

Jens Marquardt (BMW Motorsport Director):
“In a year that marks the centenary of the BMW Group and the BMW brand, we are extremely focussed going into our fifth DTM season since returning to the series. With eight tried-and-tested BMW drivers, four experienced teams and a BMW M4 DTM in its third season, we are out to put on exciting races and a good show for DTM fans in Germany and Europe again in 2016. We obviously have our sights set on improving our already-impressive record in the DTM. We want to take the first step in this direction in Hockenheim. The atmosphere on the opening weekend of the DTM is traditionally awesome. You can sense how much the spectators are looking forward to the first showdown of the season. The same goes for us at BMW Motorsport.”

Stefan Reinhold (Team Principal, BMW Team RMG):
“The break from racing in the DTM may have been a long one, but we still had a busy winter. We moved the whole of BMW Team RMG from Niederzissen to Andernach and have set up the new premises perfectly. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my team again for that. We completed our sporting preparations for the new season as well as possible at the tests. Everyone in the team is now looking forward to seeing where we stand compared to the opposition. We are extremely motivated and, with Marco Wittmann and Timo Glock, are determined to back up the success we have enjoyed in the past. We want to make that crystal clear again.”

Ernest Knoors (Team Principal, BMW Team MTEK):
“After finishing fourth in the Team competition in 2015, our goal is clear for the coming season. We want to be among the front-runners again and be in contention as regularly as possible. Bruno Spengler showed last year just how valuable he is to our team. We bid farewell to Timo Glock after three fantastic years, but welcome in an equally fast and experienced driver in Augusto Farfus. I am confident we once again have a very strong pair of drivers.”

Bart Mampaey (Team Principal, BMW Team RBM):
“2016 will be another exciting year for us in the DTM. I am pleased to be able to welcome a Belgian driver to our Belgian team, in the form of Maxime Martin. At the same time, I would like to thank Augusto Farfus for the many fantastic years we have enjoyed together. After the tests I am confident we will have a good season with Maxime and Tom Blomqvist.”

Charly Lamm (Team Principal, BMW Team Schnitzer):
“It is nice to finally get back to business. You don’t get a lot of time to test in the DTM, but we still feel well-prepared for the first race. We have a lot of fond memories of Hockenheim and it is always special to start the season there. As we did in 2015, we will compete with Martin Tomczyk and António Félix da Costa. Because of that, I assume we will be able to push hard from the first practice lap. That is certainly our intention.”

Marco Wittmann (car number 11, BMW Team RMG):
“For me, Hockenheim is an institution, as the opening and closing leg of the DTM season. Few other circuits are as closely associated with the tradition of the DTM as the Hockenheimring. Therefore, I am so delighted we can now get back down to business at this circuit. All the drivers know this track inside out from all the countless tests and races. As a driver, this possibly makes it more difficult to make a difference here than at other circuits.”

Timo Glock (car number 16, BMW Team RMG):
“I have very positive associations with Hockenheim. I have enjoyed a lot of nice and, above all, successful races there in the past. My maiden DTM win there in my debut season was obviously very special. That makes it all the nicer that we get to go racing there twice a year. The track is tailor-made for the DTM. I always have a good feeling when I come to Hockenheim.”

Bruno Spengler (car number 7, BMW Team MTEK):
“I look forward to the special atmosphere in Hockenheim every year. Even at the tests it was nice to be back driving through the Motodrom. The adrenalin levels will rise again in the race. As always, I will be nervous before the start of the first race. It doesn’t matter how much experience you have in the DTM. I still feel like I did in my first race every time we line up.”

Augusto Farfus (car number 18, BMW Team MTEK):
“I am very motivated and think we can definitely take a step forwards this year. Having said that, the DTM season is a long one, and many aspects are unpredictable. However, we are well-prepared and the new team has given me an extra boost. I think we can expect good things.”

Tom Blomqvist (car number 31, BMW Team RBM):
“I feel better-prepared than last season. Back then, everything was new to me. I now know exactly what awaits me in the 2016 DTM. That will certainly help me. Hockenheim is fantastic, with big crowds and a fantastic atmosphere. I can hardly wait to contest my first race at the wheel of the Ice-Watch BMW M4 DTM.”

Maxime Martin (car number 36, BMW Team RBM):
“Now we are nearly there. After a break of six months I am looking forward to kicking off the DTM season at Hockenheim. BMW Team RBM is a new environment for me, but we have already gelled very well and I am sure we will do a great job together. I like the Hockenheim circuit pretty much.”

António Félix da Costa (car number 13, BMW Team Schnitzer):
“I am now in my third DTM season – and it is just as difficult to make any predictions for the opening races and the entire season as it was the first time. The rules change a little every year, and everyone has to adapt to them. The main goal is to be consistent and to eliminate our weaknesses from last year. If we manage that, we will automatically be in a good position.”

Martin Tomczyk (car number 100, BMW Team Schnitzer):
“I am absolutely delighted that the wait is finally over. Although this is my 16th season, I still get a buzz before the first start of the year. There have been a few changes, which we must adapt to. However, there is huge anticipation ahead of Hockenheim. I want to be higher up the field and consistently in the points. I am very determined to make this possible.”

Statistics: Hockenheimring.

Length: 4.574 km

2015 winners:
Jamie Green, Audi (Hockenheim I, 1)
Mattias Ekström, Audi (Hockenheim I, 2)
Timo Scheider, Audi (Hockenheim II, 1)
Jamie Green, Audi (Hockenheim II, 2)

2015 poles:
1:33.044 minutes (Jamie Green, Audi, Hockenheim I, 1)
1:34.516 minutes (Mike Rockenfeller, Audi, Hockenheim I, 2)
1:32.637 minutes (Maxime Martin, BMW, Hockenheim II, 1)
1:32.645 minutes (Gary Paffett, Mercedes, Hockenheim II, 2)

Best-placed BMW 2015:
Maxime Martin, 7th place (Hockenheim I, 1)
Martin Tomczyk, 4th place (Hockenheim I, 2)
Maxime Martin, 3rd place (Hockenheim II, 1)
Maxime Martin, 6th place (Hockenheim II, 2)

DTM debut: 1984
BMW victories: 14
BMW pole positions: 7
BMW fastest laps: 17
BMW podiums: 35

Source. BMW


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