When the new DTM season gets underway in Hockenheim (DE) on 7th May, Bruno Spengler (CA), Marco Wittmann (DE), António Félix da Costa (PT), Timo Glock (DE), Augusto Farfus (BR), Tom Blomqvist (GB), Maxime Martin (BE) and Martin Tomczyk (DE) will take their seats in the eight BMW M4 DTMs for BMW Motorsport. In the run-up to the opening round of the season, BMW is taking the opportunity to introduce you to each of their BMW DTM drivers in a series of interviews.
Timo, after three years with BMW Team MTEK you have now switched to BMW Team RMG. What is your overwhelming emotion: a feeling of nostalgia or anticipation ahead of the new challenge?
Timo Glock: “You always look ahead, rather than to the past. Therefore, the overwhelming feeling is definitely one of anticipation. There was obviously also a degree of sadness, as I had three great years with BMW Team MTEK. However, I am now looking forward to the new challenge. I actually know a few of the guys at BMW Team RMG from my time in Formula One, and I have always been in contact with Stefan Reinhold. This made it easy for me to make the switch. We had a team event, at which we all got to know each other better. I had a long chat with my race engineer and had a look round the company. After that we had some fun karting. I already feel right at home with BMW Team RMG.”
You and your new team-mate Marco Wittmann made your debuts together with BMW Team MTEK in the team’s first season in the DTM in 2013. What memories do you have of that “year of the rookies”?
Glock: “That was an exciting year, as it was BMW Team MTEK’s first season in the DTM – just as it was for Marco and me. However, this is another aspect that made the switch to BMW Team RMG easier for me: I know Marco, and know how he works. He has obviously come on in leaps and bounds over the past two years, and I am looking forward to our next season together.”
Could you tell back then that Marco could be a future DTM champion?
Glock: “It is obviously always difficult to predict who will be champion in the DTM. However, he showed his potential in 2013. Back then, he proved that he is quick with performances like the pole position in Zandvoort. He had an incredible year in 2014. The signs were there that something like that may happen, but the DTM is so fiercely-competitive that you can never predict who will emerge as champion. In 2014, I said after the first two tests that Marco would be the man to beat. And that proved to be the case.”
After your second DTM victory in 2015, how close are you to challenging for the title for the first time?
Glock: “I don’t believe I am there yet. I have been too inconsistent for that in my first three years. I must still take this step. It is difficult, and there are a lot of drivers in the same position, who cannot quite explain why the consistency is there one minute, then gone the next. It is nice to have won two races, and to have finished on the podium four times. However, I am still a step away from challenging for the championship. The important thing for me this season is to finish in the points more consistently. That has to be my goal.”
The intensive preparations for the new DTM season began with the tests in Monteblanco at the end of February. What did you focus on?
Glock: “My initial priority was obviously to familiarise myself with the people and processes at BMW Team RMG. That happened seamlessly. After that it was good to finally get back behind the wheel of the BMW M4 DTM and brush off the cobwebs after the winter months.”
Oschersleben, the scene of your victory in 2015, is no longer on the race calendar. It has been replaced by the Hungaroring. Which track do you prefer?
Glock: “Both circuits seem to suit me. We were very strong in Saturday’s race in Oschersleben in 2015, and were also well up there on the Sunday. We were also very quick in Budapest in the one year we drove there with the DTM. Back then I lined up on the front row of the grid next to Marco. Unfortunately I left empty-handed, as I crashed out. But the track suits me. I have always been fast there, whether in Formula One, GP2 or the DTM. It is a great circuit, and I have a lot of fans there. For this reason, I am pleased that we are racing in Hungary again.”
You name Singapore as your favourite track. Would you like to see more street races in the DTM?
Glock: “It would certainly be cool if we went to Singapore with the DTM. And maybe for a night race? But seriously: Singapore is a very special spectacle. The track has something about it, and I have always enjoyed good results there. That is why it is one of my favourite circuits. In principle, it would be nice if we had more street races. However, you are always faced with the question of which street circuits you can race on with the DTM cars.”
You are a passionate cyclist, and have taken part in the 24-hour cycle race on the Nordschleife. How tough is that?
Glock: “It is far easier in a car! That was one of the toughest races I have ever entered. I completely underestimated the Nordschleife back then, and never expected it to be so exhausting. You climb almost 800 metres in one lap. After the Bergwerk section, it is almost all uphill. The toughest part is the Hohe Acht, which has a gradient of up to 18 per cent. From Döttinger Höhe you think that it is just straight ahead, but even there it climbs slightly towards the end. A lap of the Nordschleife on a bicycle really hurts. However, it was also incredible fun. Last year I almost took part again with the Deutsche Post Speed Academy, but it did not work out due to a clash with the 24-hour race at Spa-Francorchamps. My schedule is very full again this year, so I am not sure whether I will manage it. But I would definitely do the race again – even though it was so tough.”
You were at Laguna Seca for the launch of the new BMW M2 Coupé at the end of February. Where would you rank the car in a list of the best BMW road cars?
Glock: “In my eyes, it is one of the best BMW M cars I have ever driven. The BMW M2 may not quite have the power of a BMW M4 or BMW M5, but as far as the handling is concerned the BMW M2 Coupé was incredible fun to drive. It is a triumph of a car.”
You and Augusto Farfus, who was there with you, shared some spectacular drifting videos on Facebook. How is it that all racing drivers are so good at drifting?
Glock: “Because we have learned how to play with a car at its limits. We took a few nice photos – just as my actual drifting partner Martin Tomczyk did a week later with António Félix da Costa. It was certainly spectacular. We always want to put on a show for the fans, and I think we did just that.”