October 20, 2020
DTM / IMSA

Spengler wants DTM farewell after abrupt BMW exit

BMW has moved Spengler from the DTM to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, where he has been paired alongside Connor de Phillippi in a Team RLL-run M8 GTE in 2020.

The news about his switch to IMSA was communicated in December, more than two months after the conclusion of the DTM season, which meant that Spengler wasn’t aware that the 2019 Hockenheim finale was going to be his last appearance in the series.

The Canadian driver said he has discussed the idea of hosting a farewell event with BMW motorsport boss Jens Marquardt to mark the end of a 15-year career in the DTM, which included winning the 2012 title in his first year with the Bavarian brand.

“Yes, we’ve already talked about it,” Spengler told Sat.1 reporter Eddie Mielke in a video posted on Instagram. “We don’t want to reveal too much yet, but something will come. We’ve talked about it, and if we do something, it will be nice.”

Asked if that meant attending a DTM race this year, Spengler said: “I don’t know yet because the calendars have changed a bit. I definitely want to see the DTM fans.”

“I will definitely miss the DTM fans very much. But I’m not out of this world and I’ll certainly see the DTM fans again as soon as the opportunity arises. That’s for sure.”

#25 BMW Team RLL BMW M8 GTE, GTLM: Connor De Phillippi, Philipp Eng, Bruno Spengler, Colton Herta

#25 BMW Team RLL BMW M8 GTE, GTLM: Connor De Phillippi, Philipp Eng, Bruno Spengler, Colton Herta

Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images

Spengler made his IMSA debut at the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January, where he and de Phillippi were joined by DTM driver Philipp Eng and IndyCar race winner Colton Herta.

The quartet finished fifth in the GTLM class, while the sister BMW of John Edwards, Augusto Farfus, Jesse Krohn and Chaz Mostert took top honours after defeating the two CORE Autosport-run Porsches.

Spengler said he remains “disappointed” with BMW’s decision to drop him from its DTM driver line-up, but added that he is now fully focussed on his maiden campaign in IMSA.

“At that moment, as I said then, I was surprised and a little disappointed,” he said. “That’s all behind me now already for a while. And after that time I took up my new challenge and was very happy about it. 

“I went to America, did a few tests with the team I know from my second place in Daytona and Sebring. I felt very welcome. The GT car is a bit of a change for me, but not completely different because I did some tests with it.”

“[DTM] was never boring. It was annoying at times and really cool at other times. You can’t always have a winning car because the series is so difficult. 

“You’ve got to swallow these years and keep going – and try to learn something from it as a driver and as a team before the car is stronger again.”

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Spengler spoke highly of former Formula 1 driver Robert Kubica, who will make his debut in the DTM this season in a customer BMW operated by ART.

However, Kubica’s entry into the series effectively rules out any wildcard appearances for Spengler as the Polish driver will be racing with BMW’s test car, which could have otherwise been made available for Spengler to use.

“Maybe he will need a little time to adjust, but Robert is a motivated guy and he has put together a nice team,” Spengler said of Kubica. “I think that it will work out well.

“He is a very good driver and I know him, we were teammates [in F3 Euroseries in 2004]. Together with his team he will be able to make it work. I’m sure he will.”

Bruno Spengler, BMW Team RMG, BMW M4 DTM

Bruno Spengler, BMW Team RMG, BMW M4 DTM

Photo by: Paul Foster

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