Schubert Motorsport is the 2022 DTM Champion! BMW M Motorsport Team and Sheldon van der Linde take both titles at the finale
Schubert Motorsport has done it for real! At the eighth and final race weekend of the 2022 DTM season, the BMW M Motorsport team from Oschersleben crowned themselves champion in the high-profile racing series. At the Hockenheimring, the favorites made things extra exciting once again with their two BMW M4 GT3s. On Saturday, a dramatic race with further top results from BMW factory drivers Sheldon van der Linde and Philipp Eng ensured that the team championship was won with one race to spare. In Sunday's event, Sheldon van der Linde sealed the deal with another perfect performance to become champion. Torsten Schubert's outfit thus managed to take overall victory in their first year in the DTM.
On Saturday, Schubert Motorsport already had to perform their first miracle of the final weekend on their way to triumph in the team championship. Philipp Eng achieved a grid position on the sixth row in the first qualifying session. Sheldon van der Linde delivered another strong performance with the sixth-fastest lap time. However, the championship favorite's promising starting position was taken away soon after. Due to a rule infringement by the team, he received a grid drop of ten positions. Starting from 16th on the grid, he faced a mammoth task in the first race, but the 23-year-old South African once again prevailed in a difficult situation.
On the opening lap of the first race, Sheldon van der Linde took no prisoners and overtook no less than eight competitors. In a chaotic race, he kept his cool during two restarts including a red flag. By the time of the pit stop on lap 16 he had moved up to third position. After a perfect tire change by his pit crew, he continued to make up ground in the number 31 BMW M4 GT3. In a thrilling closing phase, he took second place and did held on to it until the chequered flag. This put him in the best possible position for Sunday's showdown for the drivers' title as championship leader with a two-point lead.
Philipp Eng finished a strong sixth in Saturday's race. The 32-year-old from Salzburg once again impressed with his racecraft and rounded off another excellent team result for Schubert Motorsport. The BMW M Motorsport team from the Magdeburger Börde region thus won the title in the DTM team standings ahead of schedule. With a 69-point lead over the second placed team, none of the rivals was able to catch them in the final race of the season.
In this one, all eyes were on Sheldon van der Linde on Sunday. The second qualifying session turned into a gamble. Shortly before the end, a competitor's accident caused the session to be stopped. Race control did not restart it afterwards. With fifth place on the grid, the championship leader nevertheless managed to distance his biggest rival in the title fight. Philipp Eng was one of the unlucky drivers at the red flag. Without being able to complete a final run, he remained on row eight in the grid.
In the race, the Austrian was once again hit by bad luck and had to retire early on the fifth lap with a puncture. Meanwhile, Sheldon van der Linde fought against the hard-charging competition at the front and dropped back to sixth place. On the seventh lap, the pitwall decided to make an early pit stop to get him out of traffic. On fresh tires and with clean air, the title contender from Schubert Motorsport gave everything and, thanks to fast lap times, prevailed over his rivals. As a result, he moved up to third place, which he safely managed and which gave him the first championship title of his DTM career when he crossed the finish line.
In the final standings, Sheldon van der Linde scored 164 points to beat Lucas Auer by eleven points. The BMW factory driver celebrated three victories with the BMW M4 GT3 in the 2022 season and finished on the podium a total of six times. In addition, he captured two pole positions and two fastest laps. Schubert Motorsport won the team standings with 226 points and had a 74-point lead over second place. In the 16 races, Sheldon van der Linde and Philipp Eng finished in the top-ten a combined 19 times in a field that was up to 29 cars strong.
Sheldon van der Linde (RSA)
BMW M4 GT3 - #31
Qualifying 1: P16 - Race 1: P2
Qualifying 2: P5 - Race 2: P3
Sheldon van der Linde: "Right now, it is impossible for me to describe my emotions. There are a million thoughts going through my head. I had a few sleepless nights this week. I have to admit that the pressure of going into this weekend as championship leader was massive. It feels fantastic now that this weight is off my shoulders. Ever since I was a child, I have dreamed of driving in the DTM. I am unbelievably proud and delighted now that I have won it. Growing up in South Africa, making the leap to the DTM seemed a very long way away. But now it has all worked out - I can barely believe it!"
Philipp Eng (AUT)
BMW M4 GT3 - #25
Qualifying 1: P11 - Race 1: P6
Qualifying 2: P15 - Race 2: DNF
Philipp Eng: "It’s not about me today, but all about Sheldon, the Schubert team and BMW M Motorsport. I am so happy for everyone now that they have secured this great result, and I am very proud of all the performances. Schubert Motorsport had some tough times in recent years. The last BMW title in the DTM came six years ago. That makes this a very important day for the entire BMW M Motorsport family. It has not been a particularly easy year for me. My speed was often good, but I had so much bad luck. But that is not what we are focusing on today."
Team Manager Marcel Schmidt: "It's absolutely incredible! The finale really did justice to this dramatic season in every respect. We came to Hockenheim from a difficult weekend at the Red Bull Ring and weren't sure what to expect here. What we knew for sure, however, was that we were perfectly prepared. In the end it was enough, but we still went through all the ups and downs again over these days. I am incredibly proud of this team. To win the title in our first year in such an incredibly tough championship as the DTM is something we would never have dared to dream of. Sheldon drove a mega season and there couldn't be a more deserving champion. Philipp and he brought the team forward with their strong teamwork and led it to success. My thanks go to our fantastic crew, who gave their all from the first lap to the last this year and never let anything get them down, and to BMW M Motorsport for their great support. Together, we turned the BMW M4 GT3 into a championship-winning car in its debut year."
Team Principal Torsten Schubert: "This success would not have been possible without the superb, strong team behind Schubert Motorsport. I am not just referring to the fantastic crew on-site, but many more supporters who help us behind the scenes and make it possible for us to keep all this going. I would like to thank everyone, my team, BMW M Motorsport for their excellent support, and our two drivers, Sheldon van der Linde and Philipp Eng for their fantastic performances."