After two weekends without races, the BMW DTM teams now enter the final third of the compact 2020 DTM season. Zolder (BEL) is the venue for the next double-header where the Belgian circuit will host rounds seven (9th to 11th October) and eight (16th to 18th October) of the season. The finale will then take place at Hockenheim (GER) at the start of November.
Zolder is inextricably linked with the DTM, and could be regarded as the ‘birthplace’ of the touring car series. On 11th March 1984, ‘Circuit Zolder’ hosted the inaugural race – a race won by BMW. After a dramatic race, it was Harald Grohs (GER) who crossed the finish line first in his BMW 635 CSi and, in doing so, went down in motorsport history books as the first ever DTM winner. In 2019, after an absence of 17 years, the DTM returned to Zolder – and BMW again enjoyed success in Belgium, this time with the BMW M4 DTM.
The top step of the podium at Zolder was once again occupied by a BMW driver when at his team’s home event, BMW Team RBM driver Philipp Eng (AUT) won the Saturday race two claim his maiden DTM victory. His team-mate at the time, Joel Eriksson (SWE), came home second to make it a one-two. In Sunday’s qualifying session, Sheldon van der Linde (RSA) secured his first pole position in the DTM, before Eng finished runner-up in the Sunday race to claim his second podium of the weekend.
Quotes ahead of the race weekends at Zolder.
Jens Marquardt (BMW Group Motorsport Director):
“We are now entering the final stages of this unusual and compact season. After last year’s success, we are very much looking forward to returning to Zolder and to spending two back-to-back race weekends at this iconic circuit. Our goal is to play a role at the front of the field in the remaining races, and to claim more wins and podiums. All of us – our drivers, teams and engineers – are passionate racers and working intensively to produce some more highlights this season.”
Bart Mampaey (BMW Team RBM Team Principal):
“We have not forgotten our successful home event at Zolder last year. On the Saturday, we claimed our first victory with Philipp Eng, with Joel Eriksson following him home in second place. On the Sunday, we took pole position with Sheldon van der Linde, before Philipp claimed another strong podium result with second place. It was a fantastic weekend for us at BMW Team RBM. We also saw just what a fantastic circuit Zolder is for DTM cars in general. As such, we are delighted to have two Zolder rounds on the calendar this year. I am sure we will have two weekends of exciting racing, and we will do everything we can to ensure that we also have fond memories of Zolder 2020.”
Stefan Reinhold (BMW Team RMG Team Principal):
“We have used the break since the three consecutive weekends at Assen and at the Nürburgring to recharge our batteries and prepare meticulously for the final third of the season. Two fascinating race weekends await us at Zolder. The circuit is an old-school track, and our performance there was generally very good last year. Okay, so the safety car periods and eventful way the races unfolded did not play into our hands, but we saw that the track does generally suit us and we have the potential for top results. We want to convert that into good results this year. We are well prepared for the double-header at Zolder.”
Marco Wittmann (#11 Schaeffler BMW M4 DTM, BMW Team RMG, Drivers’ standings: 7th, 86 points):
“After the intensive weeks with the DTM triple-header and the races on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife, including the 24-hour race, I have been able to use a free weekend to recharge my batteries. We now move on to the double-header at Zolder. Last year we were well positioned there, but were rather unfortunate with the safety car, otherwise, we could probably have had a one-two for BMW Team RMG. As such, I am hoping for a good weekend, especially as we have enjoyed an upwards trend at BMW in recent weeks. We want to back that up now and produce some highlights and get some good results in the final third of the season.”
Timo Glock (#16 iQOO BMW M4 DTM, BMW Team RMG, Driver’s standings: 8th, 73 points):
“I am looking forward to Zolder and another pair of back-to-back race weekends. I have always had a lot of fun at these double-headers so far. Spending so much time in the car is a positive thing. I hope we have two good weekends at Zolder and am intrigued to see what the weather does. That could obviously be an issue. We will definitely prepare for any conditions.”
Lucas Auer (#22 BMW Bank M4 DTM, BMW Team RMR, Drivers’ standings: 11th, 36 points):
“Zolder is new territory for me. I have never driven a DTM car there, but I am hugely looking forward to the circuit. It looks really demanding and technical. It is an old-school track, which I find very cool. I think that qualifying will be important, but push-to-pass and DRS mean that it will still be possible to climb through the field. I am looking forward to two exciting weekends.”
Philipp Eng (#25 ZF BMW M4 DTM, BMW Team RBM, Drivers’ standings: 10th, 43 points):
“It’s obviously always cool to have a double-header. I have very fond memories of Zolder where I had my strongest weekend of the last season with my first DTM win on Saturday and second place on Sunday. I will remember my first ever DTM victory for the rest of my life and I hope that at the same venue, just at a different time, I can celebrate a win again, or ideally several. I am looking forward to it and can’t wait for it to start.”
Jonathan Aberdein (#27 CATL BMW M4 DTM, BMW Team RMR, Drivers’ standings: 13th, 33 points):
“We are heading into the final three races of the season and it really feels like it has gone by so quickly. It feels like yesterday that we were at Spa. Now we are entering the final stretch. We’ve made quite some steps forward the last few races and last year, Zolder was a strong round for BMW as a whole so we want to try to replicate the pace the BMWs showed there last year. I think it will be for sure tough weekends with some tricky weather conditions but definitely some good results on the table.”
Sheldon van der Linde (#31 Shell BMW M4 DTM, BMW Team RBM, Drivers’ standings: 4th, 88 points):
“I’m very excited to go back to Zolder. This track carries a lot of special memories for me with my first DTM pole position there last season. It’s definitely a very good track for me personally and one that I like very much. It is definitely one of my favourites on the calendar. I think we had a pretty strong season so far given the circumstances, we’re fourth of the championship standings and we can build on it now. For sure we need to keep pushing, we’ve got the momentum on our side so we will do everything to have strong weekends and finish up at the very front.”