Driver Spotlight: Dirk Werner
Driver: No. 25 BMW Team RLL BMW Z4 GTE
Now that it’s been a couple weeks since it occurred, what does the Long Beach win mean to you, and has it set in more?
“It was a big accomplishment for the team for sure, and for BMW in the TUDOR series. For me personally, it was a huge experience because it’s been a rough time the last few years. My last win was in 2010, in Zhuhai, China in ILMC.
“Especially knowing how this win came together was really special with having the problem on the pit stop, being fifth, and just being able to run down the Ferrari again and win.
“Like it always is, that is the past, that is history already. We cannot live off that win forever. We want to do well at all the next races. We are in a good position in the championship after a rough Sebring. We want to continuously and constantly have good results.”
It’s been off and on with you racing in the U.S. Being back full-time, what is the atmosphere and racing here versus whatever other programs?
“Before this season, it was a personal wish of me to come back and race here in this series because I really enjoy it.
“I was very happy when I heard from BMW that I could do the full championship again and be together with Bill Auberlen in BMW Team RLL. It’s nice, as we know each other from 2011 and now we have some continuity, even though there have been four years in-between. We know how it works to drive this car together.
“If you look at the GTLM class, it is very, very competitive. For drivers, it is really rewarding. If you do well here, you are amongst some of the best GT drivers in the world.
“For me it is just great to be here. I don’t want to be somewhere else. It is a dream come true to be here again.”
The BMW Z4 GTE is nearer to the end of its life cycle, but has still developed. What has got better year-on-year?
“The last time I drove in this championship I was still driving the M3, and I drove the Z4 in GTLM configuration for the first time last year in Daytona. You don’t change the DNA of a BMW. It has good weight distribution and balance, and the engine is close to the M3 engine. It’s still a V8, 4.4L, but it doesn’t change too much.
“It didn’t take a long time to feel home again in this year. The cars get faster and faster all the time. Tire development, setup development, and that is one of the things I really admire about the engineers – they do things to make the car faster.”
Working with Bill Auberlen again, with someone of his experience level, are you always still learning more from him?
“Well definitely. I have the feeling that as a driver you can learn new things every time you drive the car, every time you drive with another driver and share data, share experiences. You are constantly learning things.
“Bill, he’s a phenomenon, I think. He’s not the youngest anymore, but he’s really pushing hard and really fast. I hope I can be as fast as him when I’m 46 or 47, or however old he is!”
What are some fun activities you enjoy away from track?
“I have a family at home, married with two little boys. One is 4, one is 2 and a half, so there’s enough extra already!
“Even if I wanted to do nothing, that is impossible right now. There is always action at home. I enjoy my family a lot. I like to spend time with them.
“Now with racing in the States I have a lot of travel; I am away quite a bit now. This is always the first priority. I like to meet some friends, and that’s already the days full. Besides staying fit and communicating with the team, some BMW activities in Europe and Germany, there’s not a lot of time.
“I don’t have another hobby really, because now I don’t have time. A lot of things I would like to do; I played soccer when I was younger, skiing when I was younger. But now it’s enough to go racing and have fun, and spend time with family.”