Bernd Schneider is retiring from motor racing. At the age of 44, he will compete in his last DTM race at Hockenheimring this coming Sunday. Schneider won a total of 43 races for Mercedes-Benz out of the 226 races in which he competed in the DTM series and the ITC, which became a DTM offshoot in 1995 and was held as the succeeding series in 1996. He started from pole position 25 times and achieved 59 fastest lap times. No DTM driver has been more successful.
Schneider won five DTM championship titles in 1995, 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2006, as well as the ITC Championship in 1995. In 1997 he won the title in the FIA GT Championship. Bernd Schneider is now embarking on a second career at Mercedes-AMG. In future the record-holding DTM champion will be active for the high-performance brand within Mercedes-Benz Cars as a brand ambassador, instructor and test driver.
Bernd Schneider is the only driver in the current DTM line-up who has competed in both the earlier (1984 to 1996) and the new DTM series (since 2000). He is also the only driver to have successfully defended his championship title in the following year (2000/2001). His record-breaking tally of victories, pole positions and fastest racing laps is set to remain unequalled for a very long time, if indeed it is ever equalled or bettered. But this is not the only reason why "Mr. DTM" has put his personal stamp on the series. Schneider is acknowledged to be an exemplary sportsman, who enjoys the recognition and respect of his team colleagues, rivals and fans in equal measure.
Schneider's racing career: like a picture-book
The first milestone in Bernd Schneider's career was his victory in the 1980 Kart Junior World Championship. After winning his spurs in the Formula Ford monoposto series he entered the German Formula 3 championships, which he won in 1987. Prior to this, in 1986, he had first competed with Ford in the DTM. After two years of Formula 1 with Zakspeed in 1988 and 1989, as well as sports car racing with Porsche in 1990 and 1991, Schneider moved to Mercedes and the Zakspeed DTM team as the successor to Michael Schumacher for the last two races in 1991. In 1992 he made another move to AMG Mercedes, where Schneider has remained to the present day. Over the subsequent 17 years, as part of the AMG and HWA teams, he won 43 out of 226 races in the DTM and ITC, and eleven races in the 1997 and 1998 FIA GT Championship. All in all he achieved seven titles in these three championships.
Bernd won 43 of the 226 DTM/ITC races in which he competed for Mercedes-Benz; taken together, his 18 current DTM rivals are able to boast 47 victories. He stood on the winner's rostrum 100 times - almost every other race - (his rivals cumulatively account for 140), and was in the points ranking 157 times, i.e. in more than two thirds of his races. He achieved 59 fastest lap times - his current DTM rivals have managed a total of 45.
In his penultimate race in Le Mans he emerged victorious from a hard but fair duel in atrocious conditions with one of the two title contenders, Timo Scheider, thereby proving that even at the age of 44, he has lost none of his competitive spirit.Bernd Schneider, one of Germany's most sucessful racing drivers of all time with five DTM titles and one each in the ITC and FIA GT Championship, will in future pass on his enormous know-how to AMG customers as an expert instructor at the AMG Driving Academy. Moreover, "Mr. DTM" will also be active as a test driver and brand ambassador.
Bernd Schneider: "I have now been active as a racing driver for a total of more than 30 years, and my aim has always been to continue racing for as long as I enjoy the sport and I am still able to remain competitive. The time to leave has now come, and it gives rise to conflicting emotions. On the one hand I am sorry to be saying "Good Bye" to the many friends I have made in motor sports, and above all in the AMG, HWA and Mercedes-Benz teams over the last 17 years. On the other hand I am looking forward to facing my exciting new challenges. I see my decision to work for AMG following my career as an active racing driver as absolutely logical. I was able to celebrate most of my victories, and also the most satisfying ones, in the AMG Mercedes team, and now I am looking forward to the new challenge as an instructor, test driver and brand ambassador for Mercedes-AMG."
Norbert Haug: "Bernd Schneider and Mercedes-Benz Motorsports were partners on the racetrack for 17 years - one of the longest and most successful partnerships between a driver and a brand in the motor racing world. In this period Bernd won five DTM titles and one ITC title, as well as the FIA GT Championship in 1997. Mercedes-Benz has much to thank Bernd Schneider for, and he has put his stamp on the DTM like no other driver. Bernd has won no less than four of the eight titles awarded since the series recommenced in 2000. Bernd is also an example to many young drivers. For me he is also a friend, and one I will miss behind the wheel when there are races to be won, but I will still have the pleasure of his company at race meetings and events. Mercedes-AMG has gained a first-class specialist with Bernd Schneider, one who combines performance with brand commitment."
Volker Mornhinweg, Chairman of Mercedes-AMG GmbH: "We are very happy to be welcoming Bernd Schneider to AMG. As a fair sportsman, Bernd Schneider enjoys a great deal of recognition and respect throughout the entire motor racing world and automobile industry. I am certain that our development team will benefit greatly from Bernd Schneider's knowledgeable support. With his pleasant manner, he is also bound to be much in demand as a conversation partner during customer and press events."