From the possibility of electric rallycross, to potentially starting his own World RX team, Two-time DTM Champion Timo Scheider shares his story, and his motorsport dreams.
Timo Scheider's motorsport career started at the age of 11. At the age of 14, he won the 1992 karting winter cup in Kerpen, and in 1995 he won the German Formula Renault 1800 championship in his first year.
From 1997 to 2005, he joined the Formula 3 championship before progressing to the FIA GT Championship where he claimed wins in the 24h Spa-Francorchamps and 24h Nürburgring.
Scheider then joined DTM in 2006 with Team Rosberg and went on to claim two consecutive titles in 2008 and 2009. The 41-year-old German fell in love with rallycross after his debut with All-Inkl Munnich Motorsport in Loheac, France in 2015.
In 2017, he competed in 11 rounds of World Rallycross Championship managing to finish in an impressive tenth place in his rookie season. In addition to racing in World RX, Scheider joined BMW as a factory driver to compete in GT racing.
This season, Scheider has competed in the full FIA World Rallycross Championship with All-Inkl Munnich Motorsport and claimed his best result of the season, a fourth-place finish in Silverstone (World RX of Great Britain).
Timo Scheider took some time out of his busy schedule on media/set-up day to answer a few questions.
Junaid Samodien: Where did it all begin for you? What made you want to become a racing driver?
Timo Scheider: I am coming out of a family which has been addicted to rallying and motorsport especially. Back in 1988, everything changed for me when I got my very first go-kart for Christmas. One of my older brothers was karting back then just for fun without any proper reason, but then my father decided to present me with a go-kart for Christmas, and back then anything started.
JS: Having won two DTM titles, 24 hours Nurburgring, 24 hours Spa-Francorchamps and the 24 hours of LeMans in the GT Class. Is there anything you still want to achieve in your career?
TS: (Laughs) My list is already positively quite long with the success that I have had in circuit racing but since a couple of years ago I got addicted to rallycross sport and for sure a dream would be to set up the right package to fight for the World RX title one day. For sure, I am here for a couple of events now but this is only my second full World Rallycross season. So, I think it would be fun and it would be pretty cool to line-up all the success that I have had with a title in World RX.
JS: What interested you to join the World Rallycross Championship?
TS: My engineer in DTM Laurent Fedacou who is now engineering Anton Marklund in World RX. He brought me to All-Inkl Racing back in 2015 and he talked to the team boss Rene Munnich and asked for a chance to get a test drive and I did that in Loheac back then and straight from the very first moment I was in love with this driving style and these cars. Since then I have to say the racing and driving the car is so much fun. I never experienced something like this before.
JS: How would you assess the 2019 season to date (performance-wise)?
TS: The expectation have been higher, but in the end, the field got very competitive with the Hansen’s Peugeot and also the Audi’s and also the Gronholm with the Hyundai’s, they came back and came into the season even without factory backing and they delivered pretty good. So, cars are still very strong. We thought that maybe not all of them would be here in ‘19 but all of them are here and I think we have seen such a competitive championship this season which we have never seen before. Here and there we were able to catch a podium or something, and we started off the season quite well running P3 in Abu Dhabi and then we had a gearbox failure, but stuff like this happens in rallying and we see that we are not there where we should have been but you know this is rallycross and I am aiming for more in the future.
JS: Do you think that you can win races or a championship with All-Inkl Racing?
TS: That is the dream and hope that I still have. I think when you come from a background like All-Inkl Racing has with passionate people which are trying to make this happen it's always good to work one side, and on the other side, you can’t compare this to a factory team. For sure, you see some updates and you see some positives. I would love to compete for those guys but at the end of the day, but it's depending a bit on how the championship will create and develop. If it turns over into electric, we will see, but sooner or later I am sure that if we get bits and pieces together that we can probably fight some others.
JS: What are your thoughts on Projekt E and the potential switch to electric rallycross?
TS: I am honest on one side and with my history being a petrolhead. Right now we have to be sensible and for sure we have to see the overall picture in racing and our world. So, that is why you have to be sensitive. You have to be open-minded for this electrical racing, which is going on in different areas – even if it's in Extreme E or Projekt E or whatever it will be called in '21 for hopefully World RX soon. This opens more doors and also closing other doors on the other side. But I am open-minded and I am also looking into a bright future with electrical cars because I think this the reality and we should not close our eyes with this because at some point we need to think about what is possible and what is not possible for our future.
JS: Having had a connection with BMW. Do you think the switch to electric rallycross will see BMW enter?
TS: Well, I am still a factory driver with BMW. We are talking about this and I can tell you that 'yes' BMW is always sensible of checking all motorsport categories in the world, which could be interesting and for sure World Rallycross is something on the plate, but if its in the future or soon – and its something that they are able to run or want to run, I am not sure, but for sure I am always someone to support this if its happening.
JS: Would you ever consider starting your own World RX team?
TS: To be honest this stuff comes up here and there but you know in terms of the business and in terms of the fun and the knowledge. I have run my own Formula 4 team as well in Germany, but you know if you don’t have the backing from the factories, it's mega, mega difficult to find all these budgets and get everything the way that you like to have it. The problem is if are not ready with the full budget package, you should have or need to have to be competitive then its more stress and more negative emotions and everything else. If I want to start something I have to have a proper set-up with a high-level quality that I would like to deliver and to reach that level and this critical circumstance in World RX now and motorsport, in general, is now, you have to be very sensible if you think about that.
JS: The 2020 FIA World Rallycross Championship will be heading to the Nurburgring in 2020. Would you ever consider doing a lap of the Nordschleife in a World Rallycross car?
TS: (Laughs) Well… Fortunately, on one the Nordschleife is pretty quick in most of the areas. So, I think it would not suit the Rallycross car so much because of the short gearboxes we have but anyway just to have just emotion and to try it. Why not? I have a lot of things in common with the Nordschleife in my history. I have won there in the car there and I have won the 24 hours and also on the bike there and a DTM race as well. For sure, it would be something to tick off in my history book.
JS: You have raced on a number of World RX circuits in a number of countries? I have a challenge for you. Can you DRAW your ideal World RX circuit, or what would it look like?
TS: This is very difficult. Are you talking about a World RX circuit?
JS: Yes, your ideal World RX circuit.
Timo based his circuit layout around circuit racing with long straights and a few corners.
Image: Timo Scheider
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