Bruno Spengler will quit DTM for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, having become the first confirmed full-season driver for BMW Team RLL’s factory GT Le Mans effort.
The 36-year-old Canadian, who won the 2012 DTM title as part of his 15-year stint in the touring car championship, is set for a full-time switch to GT racing.
While not confirmed by BMW, Spengler is expected to replace Tom Blomqvist in the No. 25 BMW M8 GTE lineup, alongside the returning Connor De Phillipi.
John Edwards and Jesse Krohn drove the team’s sister No. 24 entry this year.
“Firstly, I am obviously disappointed that I will no longer be racing in the DTM in 2020,” said Spengler. “I had a fantastic time for 15 years, during which time the DTM became part of my family.
“I have been racing in the DTM for almost half of my life.
“In my 195 races, I have enjoyed some fantastic success – above all, of course, my title win with BMW at Hockenheim in 2012. This title win will forever be very closely linked to Charly Lamm for me.
“As a sportsman, I would obviously have liked to have stuck around for a few more years.”
Spengler said his IMSA drive with BMW has come more-or-less as a “surprise” for next year.
While having made a single start with the BMW M8 GTE in this year’s 1000 Miles of Sebring FIA World Endurance Championship race, Spengler also took part in the Rolex 24 at Daytona from 2015-17 with Team RLL.
“I feel right at home in the BMW family, am about to face a new challenge, and am ready to write a new chapter in my career,” he said.
“I know the BMW M8 GTE, BMW Team RLL and some of the circuits in North America. As such, I think I will find my feet quickly there.
“For me as a Canadian, it will certainly be a highlight to line up at a genuine home race for the first time in a long time, at the race at Mosport in the summer.
“I will really miss the DTM fans. I am looking forward to saying ‘goodbye’ to them in 2020.”
Marquardt: 2020 the “Right Time” for Spengler to Make IMSA Switch
BMW Motorsports director Jens Marquardt said the German manufacturer was “of the opinion” that 2020 was the “right time to head in a new direction together for the coming years.”
“This decision was not an easy one for us,” Marquardt said. “However, as we do at the end of every season, we took a very close look at our squad of drivers and are confident that Bruno, with all his experience, can help us make progress in the IMSA series.”
Spengler will remain a test and reserve driver for BMW Andretti i Andretti Motorsport in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship.
“I am happy that we are able to keep Bruno as a valuable member of the BMW family,” Marquardt added. “We will ensure that he can bid a worthy farewell to BMW fans in the DTM next year.”