The 2015 DTM season ended in a victory for you at Hockenheim. What are your plans for 2016?
This victory was a sweet season highlight and it really felt good to start the winter this way. Obviously, as a team, we’d like to pick up again where we left off. For the last race weekend of the 2015 season, we came up with some ideas for our set-up strategy, which clearly helped me. The most recent tests that Mattias Ekström and Jamie Green did for the 2016 season were focused on the same technical aspects. That gives me a positive feeling.
There’s little change in the 2016 season. Will that be of some help to you?
It’s true that there’s little change. According to the regulations, there can be almost no further development of the car. I’ll keep driving for Ernst Moser’s Audi Sport Team Phoenix and Laurent Fedacou will continue to be my engineer for the third consecutive year. We have excellent rapport. For Laurent, the success at Hockenheim was his first ever in the DTM, so the only factor that has changed in my surroundings will be our new chief mechanic. These continuities will no doubt help me be as good as possible from the first race weekend on.
What will be crucial in 2016 when it comes to victories in the DTM?
We’re again talking about nuances that make the difference. We don’t have a lot of practice time before the races, so we need to get everything nailed down as best we can. Especially at the beginning of the season, it’s important to quickly find a good rhythm. The number of races has been new since last year. Before, if you’d finished a race with zero points, you were immediately out of the circle of favorites. Since 2015, we’ve been contesting twice as many races. That means the championship stays open longer and therefore more thrilling, too.
How intensive will the 2016 season be?
This year, I’m going to contest more races in total than in 2015. The DTM and my preparation for it have absolute priority though. But I have the opportunity to drive a second Audi: the Audi R8 LMS. I’m competing for Land-Motorsport in the Nürburgring 24 Hours. The new Audi R8 LMS is absolutely beautiful and a real race car. It was developed by the team of Audi Sport customer racing and its technical director Armin Plietsch, who was my race engineer when we clinched the DTM titles in 2008 and 2009. I’m already looking forward to the DTM season and the endurance race.
Further information about the official fuel consumption figures and official, specific CO2 emissions of new passenger cars can be found in the “Guide to fuel consumption, CO2 emissions and electricity consumption of new cars,” which is available free of charge from all sales outlets and from DAT (Deutsche Automobil Treuhand GmbH), Hellmuth-Hirth-Strasse 1, 73760 Ostfildern-Scharnhausen, Germany (www.dat.de).