An interview with BMW works driver Bruno Spengler

 “I have great faith in BMW.”

Language Version: ENDEBruno Spengler (CA) is turning over a new leaf in his DTM career. The 28-year-old, who has enjoyed success in the touring car series since 2005, is now a BMW works driver. He joins Martin Tomczyk (DE), Andy Priaulx (GB) and Augusto Farfus (BR) as the four drivers already confirmed by the Bavarian manufacturer for the 2012 DTM season. In an interview, Spengler reveals his initial impressions, his expectations, and his goals as a BMW works driver.

“What were your first impressions on your first day working for BMW?”

Bruno Spengler: “My first contact with the team came at the test in Monteblanco. I have to admit that I was very nervous ahead of the test. After all, I was going to meet a completely new car and new people. I really enjoyed the test. It was just great to see the enormous amount of motivation on display from all those involved in the BMW DTM project.”

“What were your reasons for switching to BMW?”

BS: “I was very successful at Mercedes-Benz. I claimed victories and pole positions, and narrowly missed out on winning the championship on four occasions. At this point, I would like to thank Mercedes-Benz for the support they gave me over the last few years – and for giving me a start in the DTM back then. However, moving to BMW is a new challenge for me. To be part of a project like this from the very beginning, and to work with a completely new team and one of the largest automobile brands in the world – that is very interesting and exciting for a racing driver like me. That was the main reason for my move. I also got on very well with BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt right from the word go. It is a real pleasure to see the motivation shown by everyone involved. I am looking forward to the future and am very proud to be representing BMW.”

“You have already completed some test sessions with the BMW M3 DTM. What do you think of the car?”

BS: “Generally speaking, the 2012 cars are quite different to those we have driven in the past. For example, they produce less downforce and have a different chassis. My first impression was that the BMW M3 DTM is already very good. We obviously have more work ahead of us, but we have another couple of tests before the start of the season. We will be working hard to ensure we are as well equipped as possible for the first race. However, we always take things one step at a time – right now I am looking forward to this week's test in Monteblanco.”

“You have already got to know your fellow BMW drivers. The squad combines DTM experience with experience of the World Touring Car Championship and GT racing. How good is the team?”

BS: “Augusto Farfus was a force to be reckoned with in the WTCC and Andy Priaulx was World Champion on three occasions in that series. They were both very successful. A DTM car is obviously a bit different. However, I don't think the two of them will have any problem getting a feel for the car. And now we are joined by Martin Tomczyk. He is also a very good driver, and reigning champion. With that in mind, I think we have a very good team. However, it is still much too early to judge just how good we will actually be. We have to work from test to test and gain as much experience as possible – then we will see.”

“Martin Tomczyk was your main rival for the title last season, and is now your team-mate. Is that a strange feeling for you at first?”

BS: “If someone had told me at the start of last season that Martin and I would be driving for the same brand, I would scarcely have believed them. I really wouldn't have expected that back then. However, I am pleased we are both driving for BMW now. We have known each other for years. I've been around since 2005, and Martin has been racing in the series for even longer. I was still driving Formula 3 when Martin was already a DTM driver. He has a wealth of experience and it is good to have him on our side. It does not make a huge difference to me, however. We will all be working together to push the team forward.”

“You mentioned the word ‘together’: you are all top drivers. What will prevail, team play or rivalry?”

BS: “It will be a mixture of both. You have to have a certain rivalry, as that spurs you on. You must always try to optimise the car and the performance. To do this, everyone pushes themselves to the limit and finds new areas, in which they can improve. That is how you move forward, and move the team forward. However, it is equally important to work together as a team – this includes out on the track. You obviously apply pressure, battle and drive hard against each other, but you don't drive into one another. You have to find a good mixture of rivalry and team play.”

“What can you do to help make the return of BMW to the DTM a success?”

BS: “I am always wary about expectations. I like to keep both feet on the ground and simply do my best right from the word go. However, I have great faith in the BMW brand. BMW has always been successful in motorsport – in the WTCC and every other series they are represented in. BMW is a brand that is mad about motorsport and lives for racing. Everyone is unbelievably motivated. We all want to move forward and try to win races and championships. That is why I believe that we will be successful. It is hard to say exactly when that will happen. Maybe soon, maybe a bit later – we'll see.!

“Are race wins or even the championship definite goals for the 2012 season?”

BS: “As a racing driver and as a team you always want to win races as soon as possible. With that in mind, our goal is to challenge at the front of the field, finish on the podium, and start winning races as quickly as possible. Before we can even start thinking about that, however, we must first concentrate on the preparations and work our way through the winter programme. The team still has little experience when it comes to pit stops and race strategies. These are all new things that play an important role. For that reason, we must first be well prepared before we can set ourselves the goal of winning the championship. It goes without saying, however, that we would like to finish as high up as possible straight away.”

“What headlines would you like to read about yourself and BMW at the end of the 2012 season?”

BS: “Amazing comeback from BMW.”

“Do you already have a BMW company car?”

BS: “Yes. I have a BMW X5 4.0-litre diesel, with the M Performance package. It is great fun. That really is a great car!”

“How will you be spending the weeks running up to the end of the year?”

BS: “This week we will be testing again in Monteblanco. After that we will all meet up for a day at BMW in Munich. In the week before Christmas I will fly to Canada to visit my family and friends for a few days. Then I return to Europe. I will celebrate Christmas and New Year here with my parents.”