During his career, he won several championships and he is probably one of the best drivers in GT's and touring cars, with victories in ETCC, WTCC, ALMS, VLN and FIA GT. Currently, he is one of the BMW factory drivers in ALMS and some other championships. This guy is Dirk Müller and RacingInside.com spoke to him.
Hello Dirk, most of our visitors will be familiar with the name of Dirk Müller. Unfortunately, some of them have never heard of you. Could you give a brief introduction about yourself?
After driving the go-karts and then single seaters (up to Formula 3), I started my professional racing career as one of the first UPS Porsche Junior Drivers, winning the Carrera Cup.
After that, I was driving the ALMS GT championship as a Porsche factory driver. In 2000 I moved to BMW as a factory driver, racing ALM, ETCC and WTCC with BMW Team Schnitzer. I have finished twice as vice-champion in the championship and won the 24 Hours of Nürburgring.
This was followed by two years, 2007 and 2008, as a Ferrari factory driver. I won the FIA GT2 championship and became second in the ALMS championship. Since 2009 I am back with BMW as a factory driver, winning the ALMS championship last year.
Some race drivers are getting involved in racing through friends or family. How did you get involved in racing? Did your parents support you from the early beginning?
I got infected with the racing virus while I was visiting my cousin in the summer break, enjoying some go-kart drives.
Yes, for sure my family always supported me a lot!
Did you started your career, like many other drivers, in karting or have you been into the cars straight away? Do you think karting will be an essential step in the career of a race driver?
For me, I have to say that karting is really essential and it is a must. You learn how to “walk” I would say and it sharpens every sensor. Even today I try to sit in a kart as much as possible and yes I started in go-karts.
During the first years of your career you have raced in single seaters (open wheelers), but you have switched to racing touring cars and GT’s very soon. What are the reasons that you have not driven more seasons in single seaters?
That’s right; I would have liked to get more races and seasons done in Formula 3. I won already in my second Formula 3 race, but I got an excellent opportunity to take part in the first junior scholarship from Porsche. This was a life changer and I am still very pleased about this great education from Porsche.
After driving the single seaters you have made the step into the touring cars and GT’s. You have got some great results in that kind of cars, especially due to victories and championships in ALMS. What is the most significant difference between driving a single seater, a touring car and a GT-car?
Well, all my four titles are with a GT-car, but this has nothing do to with the model or category.
Obviously there is a huge difference between an open wheeler and a closed car, but there is only a very small one between a GT and touring car, where I got second twice in ETCC and WTCC.
If you take a look ahead, what do you think that the future will bring to you? Winning the Le Mans 24 hours will possibly be your main target, but do you have any other targets that have to be accomplished?
I did win the GT-category already, back in the days. But, we got disqualified for a stupid thing, the other day.
Last year we came in third in GT with BMW Motorsport, which felt like winning it. So yes, I like to win it again, but my goal is always to give my best.
During ALMS and other endurance races you need a good teammate to race with. What race driver do you prefer to race with and why?
The good news is that are a lot of very high talented driver around and I got very lucky to always drive with one of them. Racing for BMW means you are racing in a big family, which makes me really proud.
The life of a race driver is tough physically and mentally. Do you have a special training programme to stay fit and to gain strength?
In general, sporting is a big hobby of me and I need to be active a lot. Right now, I am mountain biking a lot to keep fit.
Yes, it is very important to be fit and to have a good program to build up over the winter and then to maintain over the season.
If you could change lives for a day with another race driver, who would it be?
I am not that kind of guy to think about that. I am very pleased with my life and about my family.
From the outside, being a race driver looks like a real dream. But there are also negative points, of course. If you could take people a look at the ‘inside’ of racing, what do you think is the most negative point of being a race driver?
For me, the word negative does not exist. So, it is tough to explain. And for me there are no down points. If you are not happy, you always have the possibility to make it nicer!
What would you like to say to everyone that is dreaming of a career in racing?
Never give up dreaming and focus forward!
Pictures by BMW Motorsport©