The DTM in its particular form is unique. It is the only racing series in the world that is exclusively dedicated to factory-backed teams. Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz are fielding a total of 24 cars in the 2015 season – each car represents state-of-the-art technology and, as a result, is theoretically in contention for winning.
“The debate about pay drivers does not exist in the DTM,” says Dieter Gass, Head of DTM at Audi Sport. “In the DTM, we’re meeting with our two main competitors in the premium class, so we’ve got to be perfectly poised for the battle. The same goes for BMW and Mercedes-Benz.”
Fierce competition on the race track and constructive collaboration behind the scenes to advance the series – this has been the DTM’s philosophy for 31 years. The automobile manufacturers involved in the DTM influence the program being delivered to the fans in the grandstands.
For the 2015 season, the focus was put on delivering even more action and entertainment to the crowd. As a result, the organizers have reduced the number of events from ten to nine and upgraded every single event. Now, two races will be held on every race weekend – one on Saturday and one on Sunday. Despite their different lengths (40 minutes on Saturday and 60 minutes on Sunday, including a mandatory pit stop on Sunday) the same number of points is awarded for both races, so the 2015 DTM Champion will be determined in a total 18 races. “This,” says Gass, “will ensure that more drivers will stay in the title race longer than before and can afford to retire now and then without having to wave goodbye to the title.”
The qualifying format has been simplified as well. For each race, the best grid positions are determined in a 20-minute battle – the fastest driver will enter the race from the pole position. The motto for the 2015 DTM is ‘Keep it simple’ and this applies to the tires as well. The so-called option tires that used to caused a lot of confusion have been scrapped. Now, the teams and drivers can only choose between rain tires and slicks. Only four sets of slicks are available to each driver for both qualifying sessions and both races.
A position at the far front of the grid will be important particularly on Saturday because the 40-minute race is held without a mandatory pit stop. To make up ground, a driver has to overtake on track. That is why the drivers may now flatten the rear wing angle three times per lap – provided the gap to the car in front is less than a second at the start and finish line. They can lower the wing by 18 instead of 16 degrees, which further reduces aerodynamic drag and increases final speed. As a result, there is an even higher chance of successful overtaking.
In the 60-minute race on Sunday, a mandatory pit stop must be performed. Therefore, perfect work by the mechanics is equally important as the right strategy. In the best case, the pit crew needs less than three seconds to change all four wheels of an Audi RS 5 DTM.
The DTM fans will get to see the DTM race cars more frequently again on the race track in general, with a free practice session scheduled on Friday and a morning warm-up on Sunday again.
The supporting program will be more attractive as well. At each of six events, there will be two races of the new Audi Sport TT Cup in which Audi makes it possible for young international drivers to enter motorsport.
The DTM will be combined increasingly often with other events as well. The appearance of the FIA World Rallycross Championship (World RX) with the Audi S1 EKS RX in the season opener at Hockenheim and the visit of the superbikes of the Motorcycle Championship, IDM, to the Lausitzring just mark the beginning. Concerts and an attractive program for the whole family round off the race experience. The automobile manufacturers and partners of the DTM are featured at the Brand World exhibition.
Germany will be ‘Home of DTM’ in 2015 again for Audi. Six of the nine events will be held in the domestic marketplace. Plus, there will be rounds in Austria, on the Dutch North Sea Coast and in Russia – Audi Sport has fondest memories of the races at these venues.
In Germany, ARD will be broadcasting all 18 DTM races live on ‘Das Erste’ in 2015. Some of the starting times of the races have been moved to a later time to give more TV viewers the opportunity to watch live coverage of the DTM on weekends.
The DTM can be watched live or delayed-as live on TV in over 150 countries – and thanks to YouTube live streaming, anywhere in the world.
Although the DTM has its strong base in Germany, it is watched by fans in all time zones. Their interest in the series is assured by top-caliber drivers from 13 different nations in 2015 – and obviously by the next round between the three leading German premium manufacturers, Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
For 2017, there is a brand new prospect opening up, as the new Technical Regulations for Class 1 race cars, such as the Audi RS 5 DTM, will apply to the DTM as well as to the Japanese Super-GT Championship currently contested by Honda, Nissan and Lexus. “We’re thinking about joint races and possibly a world finale,” says Dieter Gass. “The cooperation between DTM and Super GT marks a major step towards the future.”