Joel Eriksson has been promoted to a BMW works drive and will form part of the German manufacturer’s DTM assault in 2018.
At 19 years of age, FIA Formula 3 European Championship runner-up Eriksson becomes the youngest works driver on BMW’s roster.
The DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters) is Germany’s top motor racing championship and the leading touring car series of the world, pitching premium manufacturers BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz against each other.
Eriksson joins BMW Team RBM for his first foray into touring car racing, teaming up with 2012 DTM champion Bruno Spengler (CAN) and fellow 2018 rookie Philipp Eng (AUT) at the Belgium-based squad. BMW’s 2018 DTM attack is completed by two-time champion Marco Wittmann (GER), Augusto Farfus (BRA) and Timo Glock (GER) at the sister BMW Team RMG operation.
“Entering the DTM as a works driver for BMW is an amazing opportunity,” says Joel Eriksson. “Ever since joining the Junior Programme last summer, this has been one of my main goals, and I can’t wait to take on the field next season. It’s a privilege to be selected among the six drivers to carry on BMW’s DTM traditions. This is a big step in my career and I know there will be pressure to deliver, but I will do my best to learn quickly and put on a competitive performance.”
Eriksson’s progression into the DTM follows a successful stint on the European single-seater ladder. After finishing second in German Formula 4 in 2015, he stepped up to the FIA Formula 3 European Championship the following season, claiming Rookie of the Year honours and winning the prestigious Masters of Formula 3 at Zandvoort (NED) at his first attempt.
The 2017 campaign saw Eriksson continue in the FIA F3 European Championship, where he scored seven race wins and 14 podiums en route to second place in the final standings. He brought the season to a close by qualifying on pole position for the blue-riband Macau FIA F3 World Cup.
In joining BMW Team RBM for the 2018 DTM season, Eriksson slots into an outfit rich in historic success. Formed in 1995 by team manager Bart Mampaey, the squad dominated the European and World Touring Car Championships in 2004-2007, winning four consecutive titles for BMW with Andy Priaulx (GBR) at the wheel.
The team has been part of the DTM since BMW’s return to the series in 2012, winning two races during the 2017 season. Joel Eriksson drove for the outfit at the recent DTM Young Driver Test at EuroSpeedway Lausitz, familiarising himself with the 500-bhp BMW M4 DTM.
“Continuity and experience are very important in the DTM,” says BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt. “At the same time, we also wanted to provide some new impetus in 2018. Joel Eriksson has made it into the DTM squad on the back of strong performances last season, and having made a very good impression at the Young Driver Test. I am confident that he will also do well in the BMW M4 DTM.”
The 2018 BMW DTM line-up was announced at an event in Munich, Germany, on Friday evening. The final 2018 calendar is yet to be confirmed, but the season will kick off at Hockenheim on May 4-6.
Joel Eriksson was recently ranked #27 on Autosport magazine’s annual list charting the Top 50 drivers of the year, placing ahead of established stars such as Kimi Räikkönen (FIN) and Felipe Massa (BRA).