Reigning DTM champion Bruno Spengler admits this weekend's season opening round at Hockenheim will be an emotional occasion as the BMW man returns to the scene of his maiden title success.

Spengler, who trailed Mercedes' Gary Paffett in the points for most of the season, clinched his first title in a dramatic season finale after seven unsuccessful attempts whilst driving for Mercedes.

The Canadian's triumph also handed BMW an unprecedented championship on the manufacturer's return to series following a 20-year hiatus.

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"Hockenheim is one of my favourite circuits on the DTM calendar," said Spengler.

"The opening race will be very emotional for me. This is where I secured my first DTM title last season. I am highly motivated and out to prove I am a worthy champion. It is always absolutely great fun to drive at the Hockenheimring.

"Lining up with the number 1 on the BMW Bank M3 DTM is a very special feeling," the Canadian added.

Despite the Munich-manufacturer entering the new season a high, BMW motorsport director Jens Marquardt insists his squad will not be resting on their laurels, stating new technical rules along with running a fourth team will pose a massive challenge.

"We are the defending DTM champions and, as such, find ourselves in the best position you could ever wish for," said Marquardt.

"However, with two opponents as strong as Audi and Mercedes-Benz, you can never rest on your laurels. You have to work hard, in order to ensure you are always competitive.

"Our second year in the DTM is now just around the corner, and a lot has changed. Technical innovations like DRS and the option tyres, together with the shortened race weekends, will pose a challenge for the teams and drivers. Furthermore, this is our first year with a fourth team and eight drivers.

"The season will certainly be extremely exciting for all those involved and the fans. I am absolutely delighted that the waiting is finally over," Marquardt concluded.

by Simon Evans