Bart Mampaey is the team owner of BMW Team RBM, a team with a lot of success in the European and World Touring Car Championship. The team recently won its first DTM race with Augusto Farfus at Valencia. TouringCarTimes met up with him to discuss the team’s maiden season and BMW’s comeback in the series.
“We can all be very happy at BMW,” said the Belgian. “We’ve had a good season so far and all the teams involved have had at least a podium, so it’s a very good situation for us. It’s a new series and a very different car compared to what we were used to, so it will take a little more time to exploit our full potential.”
Mampaey reckons that the DTM is a big challenge and is not an easy championship to master.
“It’s a very difficult series and the level is very high, it’s so tight that for a small margin things can change a lot. Both of our drivers are new to the DTM and it’s a very interesting challenge for us. We’ve become a better team as the races went by but there’s still a lot to learn, it’s just good to be here.”
When asked how long it will take to be a consistent championship contender, the Belgian was unsure about the timing.
“I don’t know how long it will take, but of course the earlier the better. From our side it’s a lot of work, also during the winter to analyze our season and it’s like putting a puzzle together, you have to find the right pieces and I’m sure it will all come together. We’re building something better all the time and we should not underestimate what a challenge this is. It will probably take another couple of years, but it gives me a smile just to live this new adventure.”
Mampaey also reflected on the team’s expectations going into the DTM after so many years in a different championship.
“To be honest we entered the championship without any expectations, I think it’s better to be open minded and see what comes to you. For sure we’ve had times in which we were competitive and some other situations in which we were less competitive, but both are interesting to learn from. Those are situations in which you need to stay calm and positive in a way that lets you learn from what you’ve lived.”
According to Mampaey it was not until the championship started that they understood where they were compared to the others
“From the outside it’s never easy to understand, once you’re in as a contender it gets much different. But I think we have achieved outstanding results so far, so being here with a competitive car is great. We are regular contenders for the top ten, but there’s a top layer in the series in terms of experience, knowledge of the series and of course talent as well which enables them to be consistently in the top four, and we’re not there yet, and in DTM the most important thing is qualifying. Of course you need a good car, a good strategy and good pit stops, but qualifying is critical. It’s not impossible to pass, but the field is so competitive that you can pass one or two cars, but it’s not realistic to think you can pass seven or eight cars.”
After having been one of the most successful teams in the World Touring Car Championship the pressure to deliver strong results quickly was there, but Mampaey thinks that is not a good reason to feel an extra pressure or for it to be negative for the team.
“I don’t think we have to deliver more quickly than the others. We have been able to [win titles] four times in a row in a very competitive championship and at complicated places such as Macau, so we’re used to handling pressure. There is some, as usual in motorsport, but I don’t feel it’s a negative pressure at all, it’s actually pushing us forward. We have proved in the past that we can deliver great results under pressure, and this new environment is giving us more motivation to work even harder.”
BMW Team RBM is the second-highest placed team of the German manufacturer in the Teams’ Championship, and has failed to score points just only at Brands Hatch. After winning the ninth race of the season in Valencia, Augusto Farfus is the best placed rookie of 2012 thanks to his 26-points margin over Adrien Tambay.