On the first weekend of May 2013 the Hockenheimring will host the curtain-raiser to the German Touring Car Masters (DTM) season – and the opening salvo in BMW Motorsport’s title defence. Following the drivers’ and manufacturers’ title-winning exploits of Canada’s Bruno Spengler and BMW in the brand’s comeback season of 2012, all eyes are now on the latest version of the victorious BMW M3 DTM. However, the undercard for the first of the season’s ten races will also be worth a look, as BMW Group Classic sends two legends of the track back into the limelight. The BMW M3 DTM – winner of the 1987 edition of the DTM – and the BMW M1 Procar racer driven in 1980 by Formula One world-champion-in-waiting Nelson Piquet will be lining up for action as “race taxis” at each of the ten races on the 2013 DTM calendar. Experienced professional racing drivers will get behind the wheel to give selected visitors an up-close and authentic taste of the fascination of a DTM race.
The BMW M3 DTM of 1987 set the tone and the template for the reigning title holder in just about every way. This was the car that Belgian Eric van de Poele drove to DTM title glory in BMW’s first season in the series – a trick repeated by Bruno Spengler 25 years later in impressive fashion with the latter-day BMW M3 DTM. The BMW M1 will also trigger memories of spectacular motor sport success for the brand as it returns to the track as the touring car’s “race taxi” partner. This 470 hp racer was piloted in the specially created Procar series in 1980 by Nelson Piquet, the Brazilian who went on to be crowned Formula One world champion in a Brabham BMW three years later.
“Race taxi” rides will be included on the bill at all ten DTM weekends of the 2013 season, the circuits hosting the comeback of the two legends on the Saturday between practice and qualifying and the Sunday between the warm-up and the race proper. The illustrious racing drivers signed up by BMW Group Classic for the job at hand are already feeling the excitement ahead of their appearance in these icons of BMW motor sport history. Only the current BMW Motorsport team members – including defending champion Spengler and, making his debut, long-time Formula One driver Timo Glock – cannot be considered for the “race taxi” driver role, the DTM regulations ruling that the extra experience of the track would give them an unfair competitive advantage.
Jens Marquardt is one of those who can’t wait to see the racing legends back in action. “BMW Motorsport has a unique heritage in production car racing,” says the BMW Motorsport Director. “Last year we were frequently treated to the sight of legendary BMW racing cars from past decades during DTM weekends. And each time the reaction of the fans and our guests was overwhelming,” he adds. “This year we want to give them something really special by sending out classic ‘race taxis’ as part of the DTM support programme. Fans of a leading race series will be able to feast their eyes on cars like the BMW M3 from 1987 and the legendary BMW M1 Procar on a regular basis once again. And we’ll also be inviting one or two drivers from that era of racing to step back into the cockpit as ‘taxi drivers’. We’re looking forward to seeing the faces of fans, partners, customers and sponsors light up – and are in no doubt that the BMW Group Classic ‘race taxis’ will add even greater appeal to this year’s DTM season.”