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Wittmer Parts Ways With BMW

Kuno Wittmer moves on from BMW in search of full-season ride…

Photo: Rick Dole/IMSA

After two years with the German manufacturer, Kuno Wittmer has parted ways with BMW, in the hopes of securing a full-time ride elsewhere.

The 2014 IMSA GT Le Mans class champion, who has served as one of the third drivers in BMW Team RLL’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship lineup for the last two years, said his contract has not been renewed.

It’s left the Canadian, fresh off GTLM class victory in last weekend’s Motul Petit Le Mans, looking for a new opportunity in 2018.

“It’s more my decision because they haven’t found a way to put me in a program,” Wittmer told Sportscar365.

“There are a lot of drivers from Europe, and only limited amount of drivers from North America. In 2016 and 2017, only being a third driver and doing some of the stuff at Nürburgring is not enough for me to continue my career at 35.

“I want to prolong it, stay active and keep performing. I have no choice but to find something that’s more suitable in a full-time effort.”

Despite expanding into the FIA World Endurance Championship next year, BMW’s extensive pool of nearly two-dozen drivers are likely to fill the void for the four to six additional factory seats needed for the BMW Team MTEK program next year.

Both Alexander Sims and Martyn Tomczyk, who were added to its WeatherTech Championship program this year, are expected to continue, either in IMSA or the WEC. 

“It’s a shame because it’s a really nice company to work with and the guys are amazing,” Wittmer said. “It’s just that from a driver’s point of view, I just need to be more active.”

Wittmer said he made the decision now, rather than wait until November or December when BMW typically announces the following year’s lineup, in order to increase his chances of securing a full-season ride.

The former Dodge/SRT factory driver said his “first choice” would be to remain in GTLM but has been open to other opportunities outside of the factory-backed class as well.

“[I’m looking at] IMSA, Europe, Nürburgring or PWC,” Wittmer said. “I’ve got a lot of experience in PWC and I’ve done great races there.

“I’m pretty open to anything, even the new TCR stuff or GT4.

“I think GT4 is going to be the new era coming in so I think GT4 is the future. TCR is really cool stuff and I have an extensive touring car background so I’m pretty open to any area of motorsports really. 

“It’s time to get back and showcase. Right now I’m a Gold status driver and I’m not going to hide that I put a request in to be Silver.

“Being inactive the last two years from a full championship, who knows?”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. David Chaste

    October 9, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    He hasnt become a well known name despite his prowess and title. They could not treat him this way if he was better known.

  2. Noel

    October 9, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    It would be a shame to see him in TCR or GT4 (god forbid PWC) as a silver. He has the talent to stay in GTLM/GTE. Hopefully everything works out.

  3. Cadillac or Lamborghini...

    October 9, 2017 at 2:05 pm

    Seems like WTR is going to need some drivers… just saying

    • Jeff Wagner

      October 9, 2017 at 10:05 pm

      GTLM is where he belongs but true it’s Better than no ride.

  4. Bog Hammer

    October 9, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    Would be good to see him race with Ed Brown when he races in GTD next year

    • Jeff Wagner

      October 9, 2017 at 10:04 pm

      NO! We want him in GTLM with another driver at his level. (Sorry Ed but it’s true) There’s plenty of $$$ guys Ed can find to run with him.

  5. Andrew

    October 9, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    “It’s time to get back and showcase. Right now I’m a Gold status driver and I’m not going to hide that I put a request in to be Silver.”

    That right there is the MOST ridiculous thing ever said about the driver rankings. If he is a silver then who the hell is Gold?

    Bog Hammer has a point that he could be the hot shoe in a GTD car with Ed Brown; silver at his best, tin at his worst.

    • FLB

      October 10, 2017 at 7:42 am

      As ridiculous as it sounds, James Hinchcliffe is a Gold. Yep, a recent IndyCar winner isn’t Platinum.

  6. juneracer

    October 9, 2017 at 3:55 pm

    he won a championship when the Vipers were sandbagging constantly. he never was a standout in that car or the BMW, hence no one knocking on his door. but i’m sure he’ll find something someplace.

    • Davesfla

      October 9, 2017 at 4:31 pm

      Juneracer, I read your post two or 3 times just to be sure I understood it and what your opinion is. I can safely assume you have no factual or inside knowledge of his drives with Real Time ,Dodge Motorsportsn,Riley Technologies ,TRG or BMW from your statement . You obviously don’t know the role he played in development of the Viper or BMW. Did you ever go to a race and actually watch him in action or compare his lap times to the other drivers ? I am sure you are aware of what they say about opinions ?

      • gtgianlu

        October 9, 2017 at 5:15 pm

        Here is a fact,Dave:he did only 47 laps in the race,the lowest number among Gtlm drivers

    • Jeff Wagner

      October 9, 2017 at 10:21 pm

      REALLY? Trolling are we??? So he was never a standout in that car??? Three years ago he qualified P1 at Mosport BREAKING the GTLM Qual track RECORD, and won the GTLM championship. That was ONE bad case of sandbagging and never being a standout in that car! People like you resent professional drivers that are there strictly because of their ability and have earned their way up through the ranks and should just keep quiet. You’re probably Danica Patrick’s #1 bitter fan.

      • Davesfla

        October 9, 2017 at 10:39 pm

        Jeff,As you obviously know there is always someone whose opinion is based on poor or lack of information and fact . Kuno has been a standout in everything he has driven including the BMW as his lap times will attest to . And in case you are wondering ,yes I do have inside information and have seen and heard the opinions off Kuno’s team mates and Team owners regarding his ability . With BMW he was in the right team at the wrong time unfortunately for him . He will get a drive his talents deserve ,don’t know of many drivers who could jump in a car after spending most of the year on the sidelines and and on used tires be so close to Bill Auberlen and Alex Sims who were both on new tires ! Enough said ——

        • Brad Landers

          October 10, 2017 at 11:53 pm

          With all due respect to Kuno (I’m a fan), but his performance at PLM was not as you have characterized it. He was the third slowest GTLM driver when looking at averages. Admittedly it was a very tight field, but Kuno struggled with consistency in this race. If I had to guess, I’d say it has a lot to do with simply not getting enough seat time. Again, I’m not trying to disparage him, just pointing out that PLM wasn’t the best showcase of his talents.

          https://twitter.com/thebpillar/status/917472783508148229

  7. Sven Martin

    October 9, 2017 at 5:19 pm

    That is a real shame. I hope he finds another ride hopefully it will come to Michael shank racing. Or another ride. With another team

  8. Davesfla

    October 9, 2017 at 7:27 pm

    47 laps is what BMW allocated him ,nothing to do with his driving talent .Look at the lap times he did in the car -Fact . BMW have too many drivers for their cars and obviously they knew some time ago they were not renewing Kuno ‘s contract as did Kuno so they give him just enough laps to fulfill their contract obligation to him -Fact.

    • gtgianlu

      October 10, 2017 at 6:39 am

      1.18.908,only Catsburg among Bmw drivers was slower than him,fact. Pierguidi was the third driver on #62 Risi 488 Gte and was the fastest overall and did at least 100 laps more than Wittmer. if he was valued better than Edwards by Bmw,for example,he would have a full season drive,fact.

    • Dave must be Wittmer's agent

      October 10, 2017 at 7:47 am

      Yeah, I call BS completely on your ‘facts.’ It is obvious you think HE is the reason for the BMW’s success (sorry he is not and has not even been part of either the M6 or M8 testing programs), and Viper (sorry, he wasn’t part of their testing program either).

      Let’s see BMW is ADDING 2 cars and somehow they have too many drivers? They need at least 6 additional drivers for the WEC campaign as well so how do they have too many exactly? Adding to your post above, he never ran on older tires than his teammates so that line is crap. Catsburg as a third driver put in faster laps than Wittmer all weekend so who exactly is the hot third shoe? Sorry, gtgianlu Catsburg ran consistent high 1:17s, Tomczyk was consistent 1:18s. Face it, he is not the all conquering, everyone wants to sign him driver any longer.

      • Davesfla

        October 10, 2017 at 8:36 am

        I wasn’t aware anyone posted he was the “ all conquering driver” !. You were obviously involved at the races and with the Viper and BMW race and Test programs so you must be right ! It has just been pointed out that he is a talented driver looking for a ride .

      • gtgianlu

        October 10, 2017 at 4:54 pm

        The Gtlm fastest lap was 1.18.431 by Piergudi’s 488 so I can’t see how Catsburg could have run consistently 1.17.His best was 1.19.057 on 62 laps driven.Data source results.imsa.com

  9. Jeremy

    October 10, 2017 at 8:59 am

    Its evident many of the trollers don’t even know Kuno’s background or history. He is a talented driver and still in the prime of his career. After several months off he went out there and mixed it up with the full time imsa gtlm drivers and held his own. Seeing Kuno in an Acura NSX gt3 for either Realtime or Mike Shank would be pretty awesome next year. He has had tremendous success with Honda over the years both in Canada and the US.

  10. Davesfla

    October 10, 2017 at 10:07 am

    Jeremy ,you are correct !

  11. Jeff Wagner

    October 10, 2017 at 10:21 am

    I’ve seen him like many drivers race at Mosport since day one starting out and knew for years his ability. Inside team knowledge or not, as a fan you can see the true story on drivers too. Also, these clowns going on about how many laps he was given…WHY would they give max laps to a driver they knew they were parting with?

    • gtgianlu

      October 10, 2017 at 5:04 pm

      You are a clown,mate.The level of confidence on a driver by a team is everything and speaks by itself,again if he was so fast and so able faced to his teammates he should have been more laps behind the wheel as Pierguidi had for example,no matter third driver or whatever,and above all,a full season seat. Let’s see whether he will land it or not

  12. Jeff Wagner

    October 12, 2017 at 10:42 pm

    gtgianlu: By reading your posts I can tell you’ve watched MANY drivers race for MANY years before they were known beyond the amateur lower ranks and then became known North American or World wide for MANY years as professionals. A LOT of us dedicated Fans do while you sit at home and memorize stats and lap times. Just so you know Kuno has two Brothers that are excellent Racers too in the lower ranks. You might discover them some day too when they turn PRO.

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