BMW capped a 2012 DTM comeback season worthy of any history book with Bruno Spengler (CA) winning the Drivers' Championship, BMW Team Schnitzer coming out on top in the team competition, and BMW clinching the title in the Manufacturers' Championship. We take a look back at the milestones achieved since 1984 – from the maiden victory with the BMW 635 CSi in the very first DTM race to the amazing finale to the 2012 season and the hat-trick of titles.
The history of the DTM begins with the first race in Zolder (BE) on 11th March 1984. BMW celebrates victory as well as the top four places, with Harald Grohs (DE) crossing the finishing line first in a BMW 635 CSi. It is Volker Strycek (DE) of Team Gubin, however, who finishes fifth at the finale at the Nürburgring to secure the first title for BMW.
Harald Grohs ends the second season of the DTM third in the drivers' standings, making him the best-placed BMW driver. He wins again at the wheel of the BMW 635 CSi in Zolder, while Winfried Vogt (DE) triumphs at Mainz-Finthen (DE) in a BMW 323i.
Both Kurt König (DE) and Volker Strycek finish in the top five of the drivers' standings with the BMW 635 CSi. König also picks up the only BMW victory of the year – the Grenzland-Preis in Zolder.
The BMW M3 makes its DTM debut – and is immediately the car to beat. Harald Grohs, Marc Hessel (DE), Olaf Manthey (DE) and Fabien Giroix (FR) claim five victories in total. The title, however, goes to former BMW Junior driver Eric van de Poele (BE), despite finishing a lowly tenth at the finale at the Salzburgring (AT) due to a puncture.
Markus Oestreich (DE), in a BMW M3, is in the title race right up until the end of the 1988 season. After the last of the 24 rounds, however, he has to settle for fourth place overall.
Roberto Ravaglia (IT) starts the season with two victories in Zolder – and goes on to finish on top after the finale in Hockenheim. BMW M Team Schnitzer and Team Principal Charly Lamm (DE) enjoy a virtually perfect debut season in the DTM. As well as Ravaglia (three victories), Steve Soper (GB, two) and Johnny Cecotto (VE) also win in the BMW M3.
BMW, Audi and Mercedes produce a thrilling three-way battle for the title – just as they do in the 2012 season. BMW claims victory at eight of the 22 races. Despite this, Johnny Cecotto narrowly misses out on the fourth title, having to settle for runner-up.
Fourth-placed Johnny Cecotto is once again the best-placed BMW driver at the end of the year. The Venezuelan wins three races, while fellow BMW driver Steve Soper occupies the top step of the podium on four occasions. Joachim Winkelhock (DE) also joins the list of winners in Wunstorf (DE).
BMW lines up with a works team in the DTM for the last time for a while: Johnny Cecotto again finishes fourth in the Drivers' Championship to end the season as the number one BMW driver. Roberto Ravaglia provides a magical moment at the season finale in Hockenheim on 11th October 1992: he claims two victories in the BMW M3's last works outing in the DTM.
BMW returns to the DTM after almost 20 years and lines up with three teams and six drivers. Among them is once again BMW Team Schnitzer, and it soon becomes apparent history is repeating itself. As in 1989, when Charly Lamm and his team made their debut in the DTM, the crew from Freilassing is the team to beat. Bruno Spengler (CA) wins four races, with Augusto Farfus (BR) adding a fifth triumph for BMW. Together, BMW Team Schnitzer, BMW Team RBM and BMW Team RMG claim 12 podiums over the course of the comeback year. In a thrilling finale to the season in Hockenheim, Spengler overturns a three-point deficit to finish four points ahead of Mercedes driver Gary Paffett (GB). The Canadian, who ends the season with 149 points to his name, becomes the fourth BMW champion in the history of the DTM, following in the footsteps of Volker Strycek, Eric van de Poele and Roberto Ravaglia. A further ten points courtesy of Dirk Werner (DE) sees BMW Team Schnitzer claim the title in the team competition. The icing on the cake is first place in the Manufacturers' Championship.