BMW plays down DTM favourite tag despite dominating winter testing
|By Jamie O'Leary||Tuesday, April 30th 2013, 10:08 GMT|
BMW motorsport chief Jens Marquardt has insisted that his cars will not begin the season as overwhelming favourites for the DTM title, despite dominating winter testing.
M3s topped all four days of rain-affected testing at Hockenheim earlier this month courtesy of Augusto Farfus, Joey Hand and Marco Wittmann, while the latter was also quickest on one of the four days at Barcelona in March.
But Marquardt, who oversaw a comeback DTM campaign in 2012 that ended with Bruno Spengler winning the drivers' title, Schnitzer the teams' prize and BMW the manufacturer's crown, said that a repeat is far from guaranteed.
"The lap times should not be taken as an indication of the balance of power come the season-opener," Marquardt said.
"The only certainty is that we have prepared meticulously and are now really looking forward to going head to head with the opposition under race conditions.
"It will definitely be a close affair at Hockenheim."
Marquardt said that the most difficult aspect of BMW's winter programme was incorporating the new Munich-based MTEK squad - which has expanded the line-up from six cars to eight - into the manufacturer's procedures.
MTEK, which will run Formula 1 convert Timo Glock and former BMW DTM test driver Wittmann, has been formed by ex-Ferrari and Toro Rosso engine man Ernest Knoors.
"Perhaps our biggest challenge over the winter was to assemble and integrate our fourth team, BMW Team MTEK," he said.
"Ernest Knoors' outfit had just a few months in which to prepare for the first outing.
"Furthermore, we at BMW Motorsport obviously had to adapt the entire infrastructure to suit four teams and eight cars.
"The structure of meetings also changed, because you simply need more time for everything, particularly communication between everyone involved when you have eight drivers and eight cars.
"That also fell into place very well during the preparations."
The DTM gets underway at Hockenheim this weekend.