The 1985 German karting champion, Bartels made his open-wheeler debut the following year and promptly won the German Formula Ford title. Formula 3 was next, and he won back-to-back crowns in 1988 and 1989 before graduating to Formula 3000 in 1990.
Bartels graduated to Formula 1 as a temporary replacement for Johnny Herbert midway through the 1991 season when the Briton was tied to his commitments in Japanese Formula 3000, but he failed to qualify the ageing 102B in each of the four races he contested.
He returned to Formula 3000 in 1992 – finishing fourth overall – before moving to the DTM in 1994, where he stayed until the series wound down in 1996, and he moved to the Super Tourenwagen series until DTM was kick-started again in 2000, the same year he won the 24 Hours Nürburgring.
Bartels won the endurance classic the following year as well, while he dovetailed in the DTM until the end of 2002 before he moved into GT racing, where he has found his niche, winning the FIA GT title in 2006, 2008 and 2009 with Maserati, as well as winning the Spa 24 Hours in 2005, 2006 and 2008.
Bartels was the inaugural champion in the FIA GT1 Championship last year, taking five wins among his eight podium finishes.
[Image via The Cahier Archive]