- August 23, 1983
- Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters
Bruno Spengler is a Canadian racing driver who is most known as one of the longest serving drivers in the DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters) in which he made a debut in 2005 with Mercedes and still competes with BMW. He switched from Mercedes to BMW in 2012, winning the DTM title that year. Besides being a champion in 2012, Spengler was among top 3 DTM drivers five more times.
Before making a debut in DTM, Spengler spent four seasons in different open-wheel competitions (Formula Renault and Formula 3).
Bruno was born in August 1983 in Schiltigheim, the largest suburb of Strasbourg, in Alsace region in France. When he was three years old, Spengler moved with his family to Canada, where they opened up a family business.
Even as a youngster, Bruno was actively involved in it, helping when ever possible, and at the age of seven, he was comfortably doing errands in his pick up. His passion for speed was extreme, and he was always urging his father to overtake other cars and go faster. And once he discovered karting, there was no turning back.
From that point, every summer holiday was spent at the karting races, and with full support of his father as a mechanic, Bruno continued to climb to the top of the karting series. As he was often visiting France, his career was equally spread on both sides of the Atlantic. It was time that he stepped up his game, and at the age of 18 he entered the French Formula Renault.
In 2001, Spengler won one race in the French Formula Renault and one race in the Formula Renault Eurocup. In 2002, he won Formula Renault Fran-Am and finished second in the German Formula Renault.
His talent was spotted by Mercedes and Spengler signed a contract with a famous German manufacturer. His first assignment was to compete in Formula 3 Euro Series. In 2003, he missed one third of the season but he managed to improve later in the championship, scoring three podium finishes and taking 10th place overall. In 2004, driving a Dallara-Mercedes, he started in 20 races. However, the results weren’t as good as he finished at 11th position with only one podium finish at Magny-Cours.
In 2005, Bruno made a huge step in his career. He became the driver for the Mercedes’ team Persson Motorsport. The rookie needed some time to settle in the new championship but slowly his results started to improve and he managed to earn points in the last three races that year.
His driving was well enough to persuade Mercedes chiefs to offer him better conditions with HWA Team in which he was driving alongside Bernd Schneider, most successful DTM driver of all times. That proved to be an excellent decision by the Stuttgarters, as Spengler won four out of 10 races in 2006 and finished as a runner-up, only eight points behind his teammate Schneider.
Bruno Spengler again finished as a vice-champion in 2007. He has won only one race that year, at Norisring, but had many Top 5 finishes, scooping up valuable points. This time, he was only three points short of taking the title which went to another DTM legend – Mattias Ekstrom. In the following two years, Spengler failed to win a single race, but still was one of the top drivers in the series. In 2008, the Canadian finished 5th, while 2009 saw him at the 4th position.
Mercedes driver managed to get back on the winning track in 2010. Bruno won the races at Lausitzring and Nurburgring to finish 3rd in the championship, only five points behind the champion Paul Di Resta. The same was in the following year, Spengler was 3rd in the final standings after he has again scored two wins, this time at Hockenheim and Norisring.
After the season of 2011, Bruno Spengler left Mercedes to become a BMW driver. In his first attempt with the Bavarians, he has won the DTM title in 2012, what nobody would have dared to consider possible before the start of the season.
Driving a Team Schnitzer’s BMW M3 DTM, Spengler has won the races at Lausitzring, Nurburgring, Oschersleben, and Hockenheim while he was 2nd at Oschersleben. At the end of the season, he was only four points ahead of runner-up Gary Paffett.
He failed to defend DTM crown in 2013 but was so close to it. Spengler triumphed at Red Bull Ring that year, claimed podium spots at Brands Hatch and Hockenheim to finish 3rd in the Drivers’ championship.
Huge downfall followed in 2014, when Spengler started driving the BMW M4. He took 11th place overall, although he had some good performances and Top 3 finishes at Hungaroring and Moscow Raceway. Nevertheless, the things had improved in 2015 when he moved up to 5th place in the DTM championship. The new format of two races per weekend was well suited for Bruno who has earned six podium finishes.
He was without wins again in 2016, scoring just one podium to finish 15th in the points. He finally won a race at Norisring in July 2017, in the fourth round of the season, four years after the previous victory. It remained his only win in 2017 and he finished 13th in the points.
One more winless season followed in 2018. Then, in 2019, Spengler reached the top podium spot again, winning the race at Norisring, what was his 16th DTM victory in a career. He ended the season ninth in the points.
From 2005 to 2014, Bruno Spengler raced exclusively in the DTM. In 2015, he participated as a guest driver with BMW customer teams in several GT racing competitions. The highlight of the season was the second place in GTLM class at Daytona 24 Hours, together with Bill Auberlen, Dirk Werner and Augusto Farfus in a BMW Z4 GTE. He was also driving BMW Z4 GT3 in one round of the ADAC GT Masters and at Spa 24 Hours.
In 2016, Spengler reached a podium in another American endurance classic, the Sebring 12 Hours, driving a BMW M6 GTLM for BMW Team RLL. In 2017, Spengler participated in four rounds of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup with Rowe Racing but without any success.
Photo: brunospengler.com, mercedes-benz-blog.blogspot.com, autoevolution.com, eurocarnews.com, press.bmwgroup.com
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