HWA Team - Mercedes AMG's DTM partner
As a part of the German HWA AG company, HWA Team is the Mercedes factory backed racing team, located in Affalterbach near Stuttgart.
HWA is the most successful Mercedes team in DTM
HWA, established by Hans Werner Aufrecht, have been involved in motor racing since 1988 and up to the foundation of HWA AG – then still called AMG – in 1998. While HWA AG’s duty is to construct and develop Mercedes’ cars and build engines for the various GT racing championships and Formula 3 championship in the UK and Germany, HWA is responsible for managing the cars in DTM and other series.
Today it is the team that secured the biggest number of race wins in the DTM history. The squad secured 10 DTM Drivers’ Championship titles for Mercedes-Benz and won 13 team titles, mainly thanks to a five-time champion Bernd Schneider, the most successful driver in the history of the series.
Slow start in DTM
The first years in DTM weren’t especially successful for HWA Team but soon the results arrived. Kurt Thiim finished 3rd in 1990, while Klaus Ludwig in the following year was a runner-up. Finally, in 1992 the first title was won and Ludwig was crowned as the champion, while Mercedes triumphed in the Manufacturers’ championship.
Roland Asch ended the 1993 campaign as a runner-up, while in the following two years HWA Team and Mercedes were dominant in the series. Klaus Ludwig won the title in 1994 and Bernd Schneider was the best in 1995. The same year Schneider also won the International Touring Car Series title driving a Mercedes C-Class V6. Schneider again was among the ITC frontrunners in 1996 when he finished the year as a vice-champion.
The FIA GT champions and revival of DTM
The old DTM ceased in 1997, as well the ITC, but HWA AMG Team and Mercedes still were active. Bernd Schneider won the FIA GT Championship driving the Mercedes CLK GTR, scoring six wins on the road to the trophy. With the same car, Klaus Ludwig won the FIA GT title beating his teammate Ricardo Zonta. The two drivers scored a total of 10 wins and AMG HWA was crowned as GT Teams’ champion.
In 2000, DTM was revamped under the new name – Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters. That was a beginning of the new era for HWA team. Legendary Bernd Schneider became a champion after winning 6 out of 16 races, while Ludwig finished the season in the 3rd place. Mercedes’ drivers won 8 out of 16 races, including 3 doubles. Mercedes also won the manufacturers’ title, ahead of Opel.
Schneider became the first driver who managed to defend DTM title. He won the 2001 crown with six race wins while his teammate Peter Dumbreck added two wins on HWA’s account to help his team to win another title. The following year again was triumphant. The HWA again won the Teams’ championship while Schneider was a runner-up in the Drivers’ championship.
HWA Team won another double in 2003
The season of 2003 again was very successful. HWA won the championship, while Schneider retained crown in the Drivers’ championship. How superior the team was that year shows the fact that other HWA drivers Christijan Albers and Marcel Fassler were 2nd and 3rd respectively, while Jean Alesi was 5th. The four HWA drivers won 9 out of 10 races that year.
In 2004, HWA finished 2nd overall, just as a newcomer to the team, British driver Gary Paffett. The following year again was triumphant. Paffett was crowned as a DTM champion, while the team returned to the throne, beating all rival with a huge margin.
The last title for Schneider
Team’s supremacy continued in 2006. Legendary Bernd Schneider won his last DTM title, while the two HWA teams finished 1-2 in the final standings. Schneider stayed with a team for another two years but couldn’t repeat the success. He was teamed with rising star Bruno Spengler who finished the season as a runner-up in 2007.
Spengler and Paul Di Resta led the team to finish 2nd in the standings in 2008, while in 2009 HWA Team’s drivers Paffett and Spengler won the Teams’ championship. The season of 2010 again was especially well for the team. Paul Di Resta won the Drivers’ championship, while the HWA Team was absolutely superior, taking the title with an advantage of 59 points to the second HWA Team.
Long pause before the next triumph
HWA Team had to wait until 2015 to win another trophy in DTM. There was a plenty of race wins and podium finishes, but the team never was really close to the title. The bad stream was ended in 2015 when Pascal Wehrlein became the youngest DTM champion ever, while the HWA again was on the top of the standings.
Unfortunately, following year was one of the worst not only for HWA Team but for the Mercedes in general as they struggled through the most of the campaign. The pressure will be bigger in 2017 when HWA will take care of all Mercedes cars in the series after ART Grand Prix and Mucke Motorsport ceased their operations in the series.