Bernd Schneider turns 50: Happy Birthday, Mister DTM!

Bernd Schneider turns 50: Happy Birthday, Mister DTM!
July 2014
  • With five DTM titles, one of the most successful German racing drivers of all time
  • Having retired from top-level motor sport, he has enjoyed continuing success as a test driver and in long-distance racing
  • Brand Ambassador for Mercedes-Benz Classic
Bernd Schneider’s sporting homeland is Mercedes-Benz and AMG: taking part in 226 touring car races at the wheel of a Mercedes-Benz, he won 43 times and was on the podium 100 times in total. He has undoubtedly earned his nickname “Mister DTM”. Bernd Schneider celebrates his 50th birthday on 20 July 2014 .
He lists five DTM titles and one title each in the ITC and FIA GT World Championships on his curriculum vitae. This makes Bernd Schneider one of the most successful German racing drivers ever. “We want to congratulate Bernd Schneider on his fiftieth birthday,” says Michael Bock, Director of Mercedes-Benz Classic and Customer Center. “We also wish him continuing success in his testing and racing of vehicles from Mercedes-Benz.”
From an early age, Bernd Schneider showed a passion for racing. His father, Horst Schneider, made every effort to support his son’s inclination: at the age of five, Bernd was given his first go-kart. Having obtained his “mittlere Reife”  (intermediate high school certificate, as O-levels), he followed his father’s advice and completed an apprenticeship as an iron worker. But Bernd Schneider was already sure: “I want to be a racing driver.”
Most people, who get to know Bernd Schneider the racing driver, describe him as a down-to-earth, conscientious and humorous man. To listen to him tell of the early days of his racing career is an experience and will have you splitting your sides. Quite apart from his numerous anecdotes about his successful DTM years, his tales from the early years are particularly vivid: for eight years Bernd Schneider did the rounds as a kart-driver across Germany and around the world. A series of titles, countless exciting, horrific, funny and downright curious experiences, and even the winning of the African Kart Championship were the result.
A story-book racing career
Bernd Schneider was born in St. Ingbert (Saarland) in 1964. His first major racing successes were achieved in go-kart racing (Junior World Champion 1980) and Formula 3. Bernd Schneider also raced in Formula 1, in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and in the FIA GT World Championship (winning the title in 1997). The stage for his greatest triumphs, however, was the DTM: Bernd Schneider joined the Mercedes-AMG team in 1992, winning the DTM Championship title for the team in 1995 after having come third in the overall rankings in 1992 and 1993. Following the rebirth of the DTM as the German Touring Car Masters in 2000, Bernd Schneider won in 2000, 2001, 2003, and 2006, and was runner-up in 2002.
In his last but one DTM race on 5 October 2008 in Le Mans, Bernd Schneider really showed his class again: he beat the later DTM Champion Timo Scheider fairly and squarely in a straight duel in the most difficult of conditions and thus proved in a most impressive manner that he had lost nothing of his fighting spirit, even at 44. Bernd Schneider took part in his last DTM race on 26 October 2008 at the Hockenheimring.
Following on from his tremendous active racing career, which earned him the nickname “Mister DTM”, Bernd Schneider has been participating in the AMG customer sports programme since 2010. He races from victory to victory behind the wheel of his Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3: in 2013 alone, he won all the important long-distance races in the series. In addition, Bernd Schneider shares his specialist knowledge with Mercedes-Benz customers as an instructor at the AMG Driving Academy; and he is furthermore active as a test driver and Brand Ambassador for AMG and Mercedes-Benz Classic.
Lap and track records: results of the 1995 season speak for themselves
With some figures, just a glance will tell you they are knock-out: 11 wins in 23 races, of which 4 were double wins, two race weekends with a flawless three-in-a-row as the man out in front from qualifying to the chequered flag in both runs, 9 fastest laps and 4 pole positions. Bernd Schneider achieved all of this in a single season. In the 1995 season, he led the highly-skilled drivers in the technically advanced fleet of Class 1 touring cars for 152 laps or 447.480 kilometres. He achieved the double as their undisputed leader: Bernd Schneider was the winner both of the DTM Championship and the overall standings of the International Touring Car Series (ITC).
When the DTM Championship ended at the end of 1996 and was reborn as the DTM German Touring Car Masters in 2000, Bernd Schneider had some very ambitious plans: “My ambition is not just to be the last DTM Champion, but also to be the first one again.” Looking back, the man from the Saarland region may justifiably call himself a trail-blazer for the new DTM: he carried out the very first test drives in the new Mercedes-Benz CLK DTM Touring Car and – together with his long-standing team colleague Klaus Ludwig – formed the core of the CLK fleet in the German Touring Car Masters. In so doing, his qualities as a team player came to the fore, with all the painstakingly acquired knowledge being readily shared with others: “We can only achieve our goals if we all pull together. I’m happy to help everyone, because that helps the team to get ahead quicker.”


  • A97F1941
    FIA GT Championship in Laguna Seca (California, USA), 26 October 1997. Bernd Schneider wins driving his Mercedes CLK-GTR racing touring car (C 297).
  • 2010DIG176
    DTM 2006 in Le Mans. Bernd Schneider on Mercedes-Benz C-Klasse DTM touring car on his way to his fifth championship title.
  • 2010DIG33
    Bernd Schneider on Mercedes-Benz CLK-GTR becomes driver champion of the FIA-GT championship 1997.
  • 14A230
    Bernd Schneider: Five times DTM champion. His nickname is „Mister DTM“.
  • D20501
    Mercedes-Benz Classic at the Goodwood Revival 2012. Bernd Schneider in a Mercedes-Benz W 154 (1938-1939).
  • 12C898_04
    Bernd Schneider takes a start position for the AMG Customer Sports Team Preci-Spark in the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps.
  • D1183
    Jochen Mass, Paul Stewart, Bernd Schneider (from left to right.). Goodwood Festival of Speed 2012.
  • 1419822
    Mercedes-Benz & Friends: Five fold DTM champion Bernd Schneider in a McLaren Mercedes MP4-13 of 1998.
  • 09C760_153.
    Bernd Schneider test driving the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG.
  • 09C760_047
    Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG: Bernd Schneider tests the SLS under demanding conditions on the race track.
  • .03081502
    Night drive to victory: Bernd Schneider, the eventual DTM champion that season, during night-time training at the Nürburgring in 2003.
  • .03100102
    DTM race at Hockenheim 2003: Bernd Schneider, the DTM champion that season, drives the AMG-Mercedes CLK in the livery of a racing taxi.
  • .03100503
    DTM at Hockenheim: Bernd Schneider (Vodafone AMG-Mercedes, left) wins his fourth DTM title in 2003; Christijan Albers (ExpressService AMG-Mercedes) finished runner-up.
  • .05102301
    AMG Mercedes C-Class racing tourer (W 203), DTM race in Hockenheim, 2005. Bernd Schneider won the race, his 39th DTM victory in his 200th race.
  • A92F338
    Many stars in the German Touring Car Championship (DTM) on 11 October 1992: Klaus Ludwig was the DTM champion for that season in a Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II. Kurt Thiim und Bernd Schneider took second and third places, both in Mercedes-Benz cars as well. The DTM drivers shown in the picture, from the left: Jacques Laffite, Jörg van Ommen, Bernd Schneider, Klaus Ludwig, Kurt Thiim, Roland Asch, Ellen Lohr and Keke Rosberg.
  • a2002f6861.
    DTM winners: In 1994, the new AMG-Mercedes C-Class with six-cylinder engine was entered in the DTM, and Klaus Ludwig clinched the champion’s title in that year. Bernd Schneider won the 1995 championship driving an AMG-Mercedes car.
  • 293_kl
    Bernd Schneider* 20.7.1964, St. Ingbert/D<br></br>Racing driver since 1976, African Kart Champion in 1983, German Formula Ford 2000 Champion in 1985, German Formula Three Champion in 1987, Formula One races with Zakspeed, DTM and ITC Champion with AMG-Mercedes in 1995, DTM Champion in 2000Rennwagen Nr. 11