After his second season in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM), Team Schnitzer driver António Félix da Costa is aiming to go for the drivers’ title in 2016, as he has impressed during his second season, which saw him take a maiden win at Zandvoort.
The Portuguese driver spoke with TouringCars.net after the last race of the year, where he finished seventh behind BMW stablemate Maxime Martin.
“I wouldn’t say I’m over the moon about it, because I’m a competitive racing driver,” he said, having started from 19th. “After what we had today after qualifying, if you asked me before the race if I would take seventh, I would take that straightaway.
“It wasn’t just about the position, but how we got there. The car was good and we made a few improvements, putting the car in place. Pits stop was really great and the team did a really great job there.”
Out of all the BMW teams that compete in the DTM, da Costa was really impressed with Charly Lamm’s outfit, especially when he mentioned that the team had been impressive when it came to not losing time during any pit stops during the Sunday races
“We just had the team meeting after the race and I told them that in 18 races, I think we lost time in only one or two pit stops this season,” he explained.
“I didn’t actually realise how big these teams are, until I came to Schnitzer and joined them. I wasn’t really a touring car guy, until I joined DTM, as I didn’t know much about this.
“Obviously I know how big the championship is and have followed it, but I didn’t really know how big Charly is. It impresses me every day. He probably signs more autograph cards than I do.”
Having swapped places with Bruno Spengler for 2015, saw the 24-year-old alongside 2011 champion Martin Tomczyk, which has given him the confidence to be a top-running driver in the DTM. However, da Costa has been able to learn a lot from Timo Glock during 2014.
“It was great having Timo as a teammate last year, as he had just come out of F1, with this work ethic that I carry forwards from working with Red Bull.
“Having Martin this year, it’s like having a DTM expert, as he’s been in the series for 15 years. I could learn different things from both of them, so now we are ready to win championships because I can win races.
“I can come from the back and can do whatever’s necessary. I have to work on having a consistent car all year.”
Despite the DTM now in a long off-season period, da Costa now heads to Beijing for the first round of the second season of the FIA Formula E Championship, where he is happy to still be in ‘racing mode, as he rejoins Team Aguri.