Dirk Müller is a racing driver from Germany who spent most of his career in the United States. His latest success is a victory in the GTLM class at 2017 Daytona 24 Hours and third place in the GTLM class of the 2017 IMSA SportsCar Championship. In 2016, he was GT class winner at Le Mans 24 Hours.
Earlier in a career, he was GT class champion in he American Le Mans Series two times (2000 and 2011), FIA GT2 champion in 2007 and German Porsche Carrera Cup champion in 1998.
Beginning of the career
Dirk Müller was born on November 18, 1975, in Burbach. He had a relatively late start of the career. He began racing karts at the age of 14 and until 1991 he scored some notable results, including the 3rd place in the 1990 ADAC Pop Kart Championship, before switching to open-wheelers in 1992.
That year he was Formula Konig runner-up and the same position he won in the following year after he has scored four race wins. In 1993 Muller also competed in the German Formula Open, taking the 12th place overall. Following season was much better as he won two races and finished 3rd in the final classification. The season of 1995 was marked by sporadic appearances in the Formula Opel Euroseries and with a debut in the German Formula 3. Muller stayed in the series in 1996 but raced only half of the season after withdrawal of his sponsor. However, during that time he won the race at Nurburgring and had one 3rd place.
Member of Porsche Team
Muller left single-seaters in 1997 to become a member of Porsche Junior Team. He finished 5th in the Porsche Carrera Cup what was an overture for the successful season in 1998. After scoring four race wins, Dirk became the series champion. Driving the Rohr Motorsport’s Porsche 911 GT1 Evo alongside Allan McNish, Danny Sullivan, and Uwe Alzen, Muller finished 2nd overall in Daytona 24 Hours and also was the winner in GT1 class. That year Dirk also had a couple of guest appearances in the Porsche Supercup.
In 1999 Muller was promoted as Porsche factory driver. That year he finished 2nd in GT2 class in Daytona 24 Hours, 2nd in GT class in 24 Hours of Le Mans and won GT class at Petit Le Mans. In the following year, Muller won his maiden major title. Driving alongside compatriot Lucas Luhr, Dirk became American Le Mans Series GT class champion. Driving a Porsche GT3R prepared by Dick Barbour Racing, they won the races at Sebring, Nurburgring, Sonoma Raceway, and Adelaide Street Circuit, finishing the season well ahead of the 2nd-placed Alex Job Racing.
Move to BMW
After four years with Porsche, Muller moved to BMW with which he will spend most of his career. The beginning with the new team wasn’t perfect after Dirk dropped to the 6th place in the ALMS’ GT class with only one victory. In 2002, Muller returned to Europe and began touring cars racing career. Driving a Team Schnitzer’s BMW 320i, Dirk scored three wins in the European Touring Car Championship before finishing 4th overall, behind Fabrizio Giovanardi, Jorg Muller, and Nicola Larini.
At the end of 2002, Muller also had a test with Williams-BMW Formula 1 Team but he never was really close to becoming a driver in the most prominent racing championship.
Dirk stayed with Team Schnitzer in the ETCC and was one of the fastest during the 2003 season but scored only two wins, at Valencia and Brno. At the end of the year, Muller was 5th in the standings, behind Gabriele Tarquini, Jorg Muller, Andy Priaulx, and Nicola Larini.
Triumphs at Nurburgring and Spa
The season of 2004 was one of the best in Muller’s career so far. In the ETCC, Dirk won the races at Magny-Cours, Brno, and Spa and amassed a total of 111 points, just as Priaulx. Unfortunately for Muller, British driver scored more wins and that’s why he became a champion.
However, Dirk was very successful in the endurance racing. He won Nurburgring 24 hours driving a BMW M3 alongside Hans-Joachim Stuck, Jorg Muller, and Pedro Lamy. Another brilliant triumph that year was a victory in G2 class at Spa 24 Hours.
Departure from BMW
In 2005 Muller finished 2nd in the all-day long race at Nurburgring and for the second year in a row finished as a runner-up in the former ETCC that was renamed to World Touring Cars Championship. Dirk again scored three wins but that wasn’t enough for the title which again was won by other BMW driver and Dirk’s rival Andy Priaulx.
Dirk’s last year with the Bavarian manufacturer wasn’t quite successful. He won only one race, at Circuit Paul Ricard, and scored podium finishes in both races at Oschersleben, before finishing 6th in the standings.
Two years with Ferrari
Driving for Ferrari is for most of the drivers like a dream come true. Dirk signed with Scuderia in 2007 to race in two championships. Driving a Ferrari 430 GT alongside Toni Vilander, Muller won the title in the FIA GT Championship after winning 6 out of 9 races. However, the season in the ALMS wasn’t as successful and finished 15th in the GT2 standings.
In 2008 Muller narrowly missed the ALMS GT2 title. Driving alongside Dominik Farnbacher, Dirk won 4 out of 11 races but that was enough only for the 2nd position in the final standings. The highlight of the year was a class win in 24 Hours of Nurburgring with HHF hybrid concept car.
Dirk returns to BMW
Muller for the second time joined BMW in 2009. The main duty was racing in the ALMS with the factory-backed Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. His co-driver was Tommy Milner and they had a total of 5 podiums before finishing 4th overall. Muller also finished 2nd in the Asian Le Mans Series that year.
The German driver had more duties in the following campaign. In the ALMS he scored one win before finishing 7th in the standings but helped RLL Racing to win the Teams’ Championship title, while BMW won the Manufacturers’ championship. Muller also finished 3rd overall and 1st in the class at Spa 24h, driving Team Schnitzer’s BMW M3 GT2. Together with Jorg Muller and Andy Priaulx, Dirk was one of the BMW Art Car drivers at 2010 Le Mans 24h.
Muller wins 2011 ALMS title
In his third year with RLL Racing in the ALMS, Muller won the GT title, driving alongside Joey Hand. They won the opening three races of the season, including Sebring 12 Hours, and with numerous strong finishes later in the season, they comfortably clinched the championship trophy.
That year Muller finished 3rd in LMGTW Pro class at 24 Hours of Le Mans, driving Team Schnitzer’s BMW M3 alongside Hand and Priaulx. He also made a one-off appearance in the Australian V8 Supercars Championship, driving a Ford at Surfers Paradise.
Muller failed in an attempt to defend his ALMS title in 2012 but still had a solid campaign. He won again at Sebring before taking the 4th position in the points and also helped both team and manufacturer to finish as runners-up in the final classification.
Last three years with the Bavarians
Dirk continued to race with BMW until the end of 2015 and scored numerous good results. In the 2013 ALMS season, he was the series runner-up, mainly because he didn’t have one co-driver during the season. Joey Hand, John Edwards, and Bill Auberlen all raced alongside Dirk who scored one win and a total of six podiums.
In the following two years, the results were somewhat below expectations. In 2014 Muller finished 7th in the newly formed United SportsCar Championship what was his last season Team RLL. The season of 2015 was Muller’s last with BMW but he raced only in a couple of selected events. The best result was a victory in the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup at Nogaro Circuit when he was driving alongside Maxime Martin.
Dirk signed with Chip Ganassi Racing and won at Le Mans
Muller returned to the United States in 2016 when he signed with Chip Ganassi Racing. He was again teamed with Joey Hand and driving a Ford GT the finished 6th in the GTLM class of IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
The highlight of the season, and definitely one of the best moments in Dirk’s career so far, was a class victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans when he was driving alongside Hand and Sebastien Bourdais. Another notable result was 4th position in 24 Hours of Nurburgring, driving a Black Falcon’s Mercedes.
Daytona 24h victory in 2017
In 2017, Muller stayed with Chip Ganassi Racing and the start of the campaign was great as he won GTLM class at Daytona 24 hours, again with Hand and Bourdais. Later in the season, Muller and Hand were the winners one more time, at Road America, to finish third in the final standings of the GTLM class in the IMSA SportsCar Championship. At Le Mans 24 Hours, Muller shared Ford GT with Joey Hand and Tony Kanaan, finishing 6th in the GTE Pro class.
Muller stayed in the #66 Ford GT in the 2018 IMSA SportsCar Championship season, sharing a car with Joey Hand.