Just six months separate the 2017 DTM season finale in Hockenheim (GER) in October and the 2018 opener at the same track in May. It might sound like a long break, but the six BMW DTM drivers don’t get bored during that time. They have an extensive programme even during the DTM break. The drivers prepare themselves mentally and physically for the coming season. And all six BMW DTM drivers are at the wheel of race cars – even in winter – at tracks around the world.
Two-time DTM champion Marco Wittmann (GER / BMW Team RMG) was back in action on the racetrack, for the first time at the FIA GT World Cup in Macau (CHN) just a few weeks after the DTM season finale. In the BMW M6 GT3, he hurtled through the narrow urban canyons of the “Guia Circuit”. In December and January, Wittmann used the DTM break to pursue one of his great hobbies: skiing. And at home in Fürth, he also still works regularly in his father’s body shop. This winter, Wittmann’s major challenge is getting a truck driving license. “I started with a first aid course, and now it’s time for the practical driving lessons, which I’m really looking forward to,” he said. A much pacier driving experience awaits Wittmann on the first weekend in February, when, like last year, he will contest his first race of the year at the 12 Hours of Bathurst (AUS) with the BMW M6 GT3. Then after he returns home, the intensive preparation for the 2018 DTM season gets underway with a fitness week for all BMW DTM drivers.
His BMW Team RMG fellow driver Timo Glock (GER) headed straight from the DTM season finale at Hockenheim to the USA. He was at the Formula 1 races in Austin (USA) and Mexico City (MEX) as a TV expert for RTL – a role that he will spend more time pursuing this year in addition to his race starts for BMW Motorsport. “Since I will be on the road a lot in 2018 with my races for BMW and my TV appearances, I’m trying to spend as much time as possible with my family this winter,” said Glock. Skiing with his son was on the agenda numerous times in December and January, after returning from the media presentation of the new BMW M5 (combined fuel consumption: 10.5 l/100 km; CO2 emissions combined: 241 g/km)* at Estoril (POR) in November. Then at the end of January, Glock will fly to Australia, where he, like Wittmann, will once again compete in Bathurst with the BMW M6 GT3.
The third BMW Team RMG driver, Augusto Farfus (BRA), is experiencing one of the most intensive winters of his career and clocked up plenty of air miles in the process; he is in action in various BMW racing cars in Asia, America and Australia. He was at the wheel of the BMW M4 DTM once again when the DTM and Japanese Super GT Championship met in Motegi (JPN) in November, before he had the honour of driving the 18th BMW Art Car in Macau. That was followed by a guest appearance in the Brazilian Stock Car championship and test drives in the BMW M8 GTE in the USA in December. After a short break for Christmas with the family, Farfus returned to the USA at the beginning of January for intensive preparations for the 24 Hours of Daytona. He will be in action for BMW Team RLL in that race next weekend. His world tour continues right after the race: from Daytona he will head straight to Australia, where he will contest the 12 Hours of Bathurst. Back in Europe, Farfus will jump straight into preparing for the start of the season in both the FIA World Endurance Championship and the DTM. “First Daytona and Bathurst, then DTM and WEC – it really is a very exciting programme,” said a delighted Farfus.
Bruno Spengler (CAN / BMW Team RBM) went straight from the 2017 season finale to Spain, to spend a week playing golf with friends. Then the Canadian returned to the wheel: in Estoril he, like Glock, was a guest at the presentation of the new BMW M5, and introduced the high-performance car to international media representatives in greater detail. Then in mid-December, it was on to Shanghai (CHN) for Spengler. “We had a special mission there: setting a new track record for production cars with the BMW M5 on the Formula 1 track. We did it, we beat the previous record by six seconds,” said Spengler. Over Christmas and New Year, the 2012 DTM champion treated himself to a few peaceful days with his family. Then in mid-January he broke new racing ground: in Marrakech (MAR) he took part in the official rookie test for the ABB FIA Formula E Championship on behalf of the MS&AD Andretti Formula E Team. And just a few days later, Spengler is a world away from the Moroccan desert. This weekend, he is holding driver training courses in a BMW M5 at a BMW event in the Swiss ski resort of Gstaad. Then at the beginning of February he will head to Mechelen (BEL) to join his BMW Team RBM to prepare for the season. This will be followed by the fitness week with all the BMW DTM drivers.
Philipp Eng (AUT), new to the DTM and BMW Team RBM this season, started December with a targeted muscle-building programme, as the perfect preparation for his new role. The aim was to improve his fitness. “I think that there is a lot more strain in the DTM than in the GT series since the car has a much greater downforce and accelerates much more quickly,” he said. The Austrian spent Christmas at home with his family in Salzburg (AUT), and celebrated New Year in London (GBR). On 3rd January, Eng boarded a plane to the USA – to the “Roar” ahead of the 24-hour race in Daytona. At the endurance classic in Florida, he will also be one of the drivers to take the wheel of the new BMW M8 GTE in its first race. He and Farfus will then fly straight from Daytona to the other end of the world, to the 12-hour race of Bathurst. After the race, he will continue his preparations for his maiden DTM season.
Also new to the BMW DTM squad and BMW Team RBM is former BMW Motorsport Junior Joel Eriksson (SWE). His winter break after the season finale of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship kicked off with the DTM Young Driver Test. Then he also headed to Macau, where he secured pole position and second place in the qualifying race at the prestigious Formula 3 race. In January he, like Spengler, took part in the rookie test for the ABB FIA Formula E Championship in Marrakech. However, Eriksson is spending most of the winter in intensive preparation for his DTM debut. “I had the specialists at Formula Medicine put together a training plan for me, which gives me the perfect preparation for my first race,” said Eriksson, who will visit BMW Team RBM in Belgium for the first time next week. When he is not involved in race action, he sometimes still works as a truck driver in his native Sweden and restores classic cars in his free time.