BMW motorsport director Jens Marquardt believes the manufacturer's return season in the DTM can be classed as a huge success, whatever the outcome of next weekend's title-decider at Hockenheim.
Bruno Spengler heads to the final round of the season just three points behind Mercedes' championship leader Gary Paffett, having slashed the gap from 40 just four races in. But Marquardt insisted that a title for the Canadian would simply be a bonus in an otherwise impressive return season after 20 years away from the DTM.
Marquardt said: "I doubt many people would truly have believed we could win four of the first nine races and achieve 10 podiums. But I'm very proud of my time for achieving this.
"We were 'new' to the series in 2012 and our rivals had more experience than us. However, we have learned very quickly and found ourselves on a par with the opposition from the outset. As such, I see the team as a winner regardless of the outcome of the final race at Hockenheim. It's sensational to still be in with a chance of the title going to the last event.
"We have nothing to lose going into the final; we've more than lived up to our expectations this year. The title would merely be the icing on the cake."
Marquardt paid tribute to the work done by the Schnitzer, RBM and RMG teams that run the six M3s and to the engineering staff at BMW Motorsport that built the cars.
"We've not had a single retirement caused by technical problems with the car," he added. "The car was excellent at almost every circuit and that's really allowed our drivers to attack. And our pit crews have been great too; it's no coincidence that BMW Team Schnitzer has been recognised as the fastest pit crew by Hankook [which runs a season-long contest to find the best team in the pits] either."
Three previous drivers' championships have been won in BMW machinery; Volker Strycek, Eric van de Poele and Roberto Ravaglia taking the 1984, '87 and '89 titles respectively.