Mercedes touring car legend Bernd Schneider has called time on a professional racing career that includes a record five German DTM tin-top titles.
The 44-year-old German confirmed his rumoured retirement ahead of this year’s DTM finale at Hockenheim in October, claiming that “today’s DTM is for another generation”. The five-time DTM champion will now become a brand ambassador for Mercedes AMG. Schneider, who signed up to drive for the works AMG squad for 1992, put his success down to “joining a team that had what it took to win races”. He rates his final DTM championship success in 2006 as his best because “winning another title when everyone said I hadn’t got it any more was just great”.
Schneider first raced in the DTM with Ford’s junior team as early as 1986, dovetailing tin-tops with his single-seater career. He graduated to Formula 1 on the back of winning the German Formula 3 title in 1987, but his career at the pinnacle of the sport never recovered from two disastrous seasons with the uncompetitive Zakspeed team.
He rebuilt his career in sports cars with the privateer Kremer and Joest Porsche teams, before a handful of DTM races in a Zakspeed Mercedes at the end of 1991 resulted in a factory contract.
Schneider has not ruled out racing again, “but only for fun”, in events such as the Nürburgring 24 Hours.