Hockenheim (DE), 21st October 2012.
Four wins, three pole positions and finally the long-awaited title: Bruno Spengler (CA) made DTM history in 2012. In an interview, the freshly crowned champion and BMW Team Schnitzer driver speaks about his emotions, the final laps in Hockenheim (DE) and his plans for the coming weeks.
Bruno, how does it feel to be the DTM champion?
Bruno Spengler: “To be honest, I still really don’t know how or what I should feel. I am still at sixes and sevens and can hardly believe what has happened. I am just proud to be the first DTM champion for BMW after the big comeback. This is a dream come true for me. I have come close to winning the Drivers’ Championship a few times already, but it never worked out. And then I win the title in my first season with BMW. That is simply unbelievable. We have made motorsport history with this triumph. It will probably take me a few days to fully grasp what BMW Team Schnitzer and the entire BMW Motorsport team have achieved this season.”
How were the final laps in Hockenheim for you?
Spengler: “Honestly, I was really nervous. My heart was going mad and my pulse was up at 180. I kept looking in my rear-view mirror to see where Gary Paffett was, and just hoped I would finally see the chequered flag. Never in my career have I been so desperate for a race to end as I was in the finale in Hockenheim. When I did then cross the finish line, all the tension was released. I was totally happy and so overjoyed that I sang ‘We are the Champions’.”
What role did BMW Team Schnitzer play in your success?
Spengler: “In motorsport, you never win alone. A championship win is always a success for the entire team. Even out on the track, when I am sat in the car, I never have the feeling I am by myself. I can feel the support of the whole team. Everyone at BMW Motorsport has made a significant contribution to the success we have enjoyed this season. Even in the final race, when everything was at stake, we had a perfect car again. BMW Team Schnitzer did a sensational job again – and in a race in which we were obviously feeling the pressure. We wanted to make the most of our opportunity to win the title. We did not make any mistakes, and that is why we deserved to win in the end.”
Can you imagine what awaits you now as champion?
Spengler: “It will certainly be an exciting time. However, I do not see that as stress. What could be nicer than to be asked to do something as the champion. I have already received a lot of requests for interviews and to appear on TV programmes over the coming weeks. On top of that, I will also spend another three days in Maisach with the winners of the ‘Drive like Bruno’ promotion. I want everyone to see how enjoyable motor racing is and show how a professional drives. Then I have a few other appointments lined up in Munich. I am looking forward to everything, as I have worked long and hard to be celebrated as the champion at the end of a series. The fact that this happened in my first year with BMW is really sensational.”
Bruno Spengler (CA) has fulfilled his dream of winning the DTM title in Hockenheim (DE). On the final straight of a thrilling season, the 29-year-old was able to fend off Gary Paffett (GB, Mercedes), therefore continuing BMW’s success story in the DTM.
Spengler had already fought for the title on four previous occasions in his successful DTM career – and lost by a close margin each time. The Canadian took on a new challenge in the 2012 season, and switched over to drive with BMW. After joining the legendary BMW Team Schnitzer, he immediately caused a sensation in his matt black BMW Bank M3 DTM sporting number 7.
However, he was first in a black BMW M3 a long time ago, so his first foray in the car didn’t occur in his test for BMW in Monteblanco (ES) at the end of 2011, or at the opening race of the 2012 DTM season in Hockenheim. “My dad had a black BMW M3 Coupé for a long time. I was still a small boy”, the new DTM Champion remembered. “The sound of the engine alone fascinated me. My dad often had to rev it for me.” Spengler is now a successful BMW racing driver and—with his four wins this season and his title victory—has taken up a lasting position as part of the impressive history of successes the brand continues to enjoy. “I’m proud to represent BMW. The fact we won the title together is just sensational,” he said.
Spenger spent his first years in the DTM with Mercedes. He began his career with the manufacturer in 2005 in the previous season’s car and was impressive from the very first race. The following year, Spengler catapulted himself forward with four victories in the DTM’s leading group and was second in the drivers’ rankings behind his team mate and DTM record-winning champion Bernd Schneider (DE). In 2007, he fought for the title in the final race for the first time, but had to accept that the crown ultimately went to Mattias Ekström (SE, Audi). In the end, just three points separated him from victory.
In 2008 and 2009, the new champion was ranked among the top five drivers each time at the end of the season, before making a renewed attack on the title in 2010. In a dramatic final in Shanghai (CN), he lost the overall lead and had to congratulate Paul di Resta (GB) on his title win.
Last season, Spengler was leading the drivers’ rankings after six of the ten races, before his current BMW colleague Martin Tomczyk (DE) embarked on a brilliant final sprint to overtake him and snatch first place, a position he defended to the end. Spengler had to be content with third place, as he had been in 2010.
This year, his big moment finally came – and the number 1 was transferred within the BMW family from Tomczyk to Spengler, the racer who was born in Alsace, but who grew up in Montreal (CA). Spengler settled into this new family quickly, and not only because of his sporting prowess. “I feel very happy with BMW, everyone has been very welcoming right from the first second I arrived”, he says. To be allowed to drive for BMW Team Schnitzer with all its tradition is a special honour to him: “It’s a pure piece of motorsport history. That I’ve been able to continue the success story of BMW Team Schnitzer means a great deal to me.”
Team Principal Charly Lamm (DE), who was in the pit during Roberto Ravaglia’s (IT) title win in 1989, returned the praise early in the season. He quickly noticed that, in Spengler, he had found not just a practically flawless racing driver, but had also added a very straightforward man to his ranks who was admired by his teammates, fans and colleagues alike. “Bruno brings a lot of DTM experience to the team, which has undoubtedly done us good”, said Lamm. “At the same time, he is able to motivate the team, is always ready to listen, takes a lot of time for the fans, and doesn’t let anything upset him.”
After the festivities surrounding his title win, it will be up to Spengler to take some time out during the winter months to regain his calm and to get to grips with what he has achieved over the past ten DTM races. His favourite place to relax is in his Canadian homeland, in the woods far away from the hustle and bustle of the racetrack.
You’ll most likely find him also on a golf course or going down trails on cross-country skiing trips. The multitalented Spengler can’t have a holiday without sport. He knows from experience that it won’t take long until the itch sets in again and he’ll want to get back to preparing for the 2013 DTM season.
In 2013, the aim is to defend the title. And Spengler admits: “I’m even itching to start right now.”
Bruno Spengler – Milestones.