BMW has announced its factory drivers for the 2022 season in a press release: And apart from Martin Tomczyk, who has ended his career, and Maximilian Günther, who is now driving for Nissan after BMW left Formula E, there are compared to the previous year no departures.
That comes as a surprise, because Bruno Spengler, who has completed the IMSA SportsCar Championship in recent years, and veteran Timo Glock were unsuccessful when it came to the line-up for this year’s 24-hour classic at Daytona.
This sparked rumors that the two’s contracts might not have been renewed. But alongside drivers like Marco Wittmann, Sheldon van der Linde, Nick Yelloly, Philipp Eng Augusto Farfus and Jake Dennis, the two big names are also on the list of 19 BMW drivers for 2022 (see below).
What BMW valued when choosing a driver
Franciscus van Meel, Managing Director of BMW M GmbH, is quoted as saying that the selection of the 19 drivers was based on “experience, class and continuity”.
Because for the first races with the new BMW M4 GT3 and the LMDh test program for the IMSA entry in 2023, you need “drivers who know BMW M Motorsport, the vehicles, the engineers, the racing series and racetracks very well and who can fully concentrate on them able to regularly get the maximum performance out of the overall package.”
One is convinced “that we are well prepared for the 2022 season with our squad”. The allocation of drivers to teams and racing series will be announced “at a later date”.
Who BMW has planned for the DTM
But according to information from “Motorsport-Total.com”, the planning of which drivers will be used in which series is already at an advanced stage. How does it look in this regard in terms of DTM?
Marco Wittmann, who surprisingly fought for the title last year despite little GT3 experience with the M6 GT3, is considered set and has a good chance of staying with Walkenhorst if the project planned with two M4 GT3s comes about as expected.
GT3 specialist Sheldon van der Linde, who has made excellent progress over the past two years, is also considered to be a good choice for the DTM. But the plan is that he doesn’t drive in the same team as Wittmann to ensure more balance. And Philipp Eng is also set to celebrate his comeback in the traditional series in 2022 after an IMSA year.
Spengler before DTM return, Glock before farewell?
Since BMW DTM boss Gerhard Berger promised four cars, one cockpit would still be free. It is well known that former champion and crowd favorite Spengler has been trying hard to make a DTM comeback in recent months.
And according to information from “Motorsport-Total.com”, the 38-year-old Canadian, who is well received by sponsors with his likeable nature, may also have been successful and motivated one of his former sponsors to make a DTM comeback.
But what does that mean for Timo Glock? A first indication of a possible retirement from the DTM for the 39-year-old was the announcement by the Grasser team that Lamborghini driver Clemens Schmid would drive with starting number 16 in 2022. But that is actually reserved for Glock. When asked, a spokeswoman for the DTM umbrella organization ITR said that it was not yet certain that Schmid was driving with Glock’s number: “We have not confirmed the number 16 on our part.”
Nevertheless, “Motorsport-Total.com” has learned that Glock’s tendency after the difficult 2021 DTM season is more in the direction of GT World Challenge Europe and it is therefore quite possible that the Odenwalder will not have his tenth year in the DTM.
BMW driver squad for the 2022 season: Nick Catsburg (NED), Jake Dennis (GBR), Connor de Philippi (USA), Stef Dusseldorp (NED), John Edwards (USA), Philipp Eng (AUT), Augusto Farfus (BRA), Timo Glock (GER), Daniel Harper (GER), Max Hesse (GER), Erik Johansson (SWE), Jens Klingmann (GER), Jesse Krohn (FIN), Alexander Sims (GBR), Bruno Spengler (CAN), Sheldon van der Linde (RSA), Neil Verhagen (USA), Marco Wittmann (GER), Nick Yelloly (GBR)