An interview with BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt: “Marco has set the bar very high for the other drivers.”

MIL OSI – Source: BMW Group – English – Press Release/Statement

Headline: An interview with BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt: “Marco has set the bar very high for the other drivers.”

Munich (DE), 20th October 2016. Marco Wittmann (DE) was crowned DTM
champion for the second time at the Hockenheimring (DE) on Sunday. He
became the first BMW driver to achieve this feat. In the Team
competition, BMW Team RMG finished runner-up, ahead of BMW Team RBM,
making it the best-placed BMW team for the third season in a row. BMW
also finished second in the DTM Manufacturers’ Championship.
In an interview, BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt discusses
Marco Wittmann’s title win and looks back on the fifth season since
BMW’s return to the DTM.

Mr Marquardt, how do you rate Marco Wittmann’s title win?
Jens Marquardt: “Marco Wittmann really lived up to his nickname ‘Mega
Marco’, which he has had since winning his first title in 2014. His
top speed, nerves of steel and cleverness made Marco a worthy champion
in 2016. He has set the bar very high for the other drivers.”

What makes Marco so strong?
Marquardt: “He doesn’t actually have any weaknesses. Marco is
extremely quick when it counts on one flying lap in qualifying, at the
same time he can also pace a race perfectly and drive very
intelligently. This combination of raw speed and brains is what
champions are made of. This is the same in any racing series. There
are not many drivers with these attributes. Therefore, we are very
happy to have Marco among our ranks.”

How did you enjoy the season finale in Hockenheim?
Marquardt: “That was a real thriller, in front of a great backdrop. A
total of 142,000 fans watched the final two races live at the track,
and were treated to what was pretty much a compact version of the 2016
season. It has been incredibly close and the majority of races have
been extremely exciting. Edoardo Mortara produced two very strong
races at the end to challenge Marco once again. However, our champion
showed what he is made of again – and calmly secured his second title.”

What place in the DTM history of BMW has Marco Wittmann
already earned?
Marquardt: “Marco is the first BMW driver to win the DTM Drivers’
Championship twice. Only two drivers have ever won more titles than
Marco in this series. What more do I need to say? Although he’s only
26 years old, and still has the majority of his career ahead of him,
Marco is already assured of a place in the history books of the DTM
and BMW Motorsport. He is one of the greatest.”

BMW M has dedicated a special BMW M4 DTM Champion Edition to Marco…
Marquardt: “Yes, that has become something of a tradition. Bruno
Spengler received a BMW M3 DTM Champion Edition in 2012, as did Marco
following his first title win in 2014. It is fantastic that BMW M GmbH
has now once again created an exclusive special edition of just 200
cars. The relationship between BMW M and BMW Motorsport has always
been very close. The BMW M4 DTM Champion Edition is a strong symbol of
this close connection.”

How would you sum up the 2016 DTM season in general?
Marquardt: “I think the fans have enjoyed one of the most exciting
seasons ever in the DTM. We have seen ten different winners. Eighteen
of the 24 drivers have made it onto the podium. In qualifying, the
drivers were regularly separated by mere fractions of a second. The
title race was a thriller, right down to the final laps of the final
race. This all shows that the measures taken prior to the start of the
season have been effective. The packages of all three manufacturers
were of virtually the same standard. Marco made the difference for us.
That shows what an important role the driver plays in the DTM.”

How would you assess the performances of the individual BMW teams?
Marquardt: “On the whole, we once again showed fantastic team spirit
and, with the Drivers’ title for Marco Wittmann and second place in
the Team and Manufacturers’ competitions, we achieved an awful lot
together. BMW Team RMG was the most successful of our teams for the
third time in a row. Stefan Reinhold and his guys are doing a really
outstanding job. However, I am particularly pleased that all our teams
made it onto the podium this season. BMW Team RBM finished third in
the Team competition, while BMW Team MTEK had the fastest pit crew in
the entire DTM field. BMW Team Schnitzer enjoyed a great end to the
season in Budapest and Hockenheim with two pole positions and a
podium. We can be proud of all our teams.”

We have seen two BMW drivers for the last time in the DTM, in
the form of Martin Tomczyk and António Félix da Costa…
Marquardt: “That is right, but both will remain part of the BMW
family and will take on new projects with us. Martin Tomczyk has had
an extraordinary DTM career. He has been an instrumental part of this
series for 16 years. Above all, however, he is a great guy. With his
ability and personality, he is sure to be very valuable to us in
international GT racing in the future. The same goes for António Félix
da Costa in the FIA Formula E Championship, in which he has been
racing from year one. He is an extremely talented racing driver, as he
showed emphatically again at this season’s DTM finale with his two
pole positions. Martin bid farewell with another strong race and was
rewarded with a point. Both enjoyed a worthy send-off.”