DTM continues upward trend -- DTM-calendar for 2003 finalized
With the early decision about the DTM race calendar for 2003, the DMSB (Deutscher Motor Sport Bund e.V.) and the ITR (Internationale Tourenwagen Rennen e.V.) have laid the foundation for the continuing positive development of the DTM. Once more, the calendar includes ten rounds, six of them in Germany and four abroad. "We are happy that we have finalized the calendar for 2003 together with our partners at this stage already," says ITR-chairman Hans Werner Aufrecht.
Slight modifications of the regulations are to make the DTM even more attractive. Currently, the DTM looks all set to have a 20 car starting field. The three DTM-makes Abt-Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Opel are planning to enter each four newly developed Abt-Audi TT-Rs, Mercedes-Benz CLK-DTMs and Opel Astra V8 Coupés. On top of that, Abt-Audi and Opel have each planned two cars from last year, Mercedes-Benz looks set to enter four one-year old cars.
Traditionally, the opening and the final round of the 2003 season will be taking place at the Grand Prix-track of the Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg, on which the DTM bowed out of the season in October 2002 in a spectacular way. The traditional venue of the Nürburgring is also featuring twice on the calendar with the short circuit lay-out. In the Eifel-region, the DTM set a new record for touring car races this year with 73,000 spectators. Moreover, the DTM will be racing at the Norisring in Nuremberg and at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz. There, the integration of turn one of the tri-oval will excite the fans.
Outside of Germany, the DTM will once again be racing at the A1-Ring (A), at Donington Park (GB) and at the Circuit Park Zandvoort (NL). Both in Austria and in The Netherlands, a strong rise in spectator figures proved the international popularity of the DTM. A new venue on the calendar is the Adria International Raceway (I) near Venice.
"We are proud that many more organizers both in Germany and abroad were trying to get a DTM-race, which shows the great appeal of the DTM. However, for the moment, we wanted to stuck to the total number of ten rounds," Hans Werner Aufrecht says. With Italy, another important market for manufacturers and sponsors has been included into the DTM-calendar. In the mid-1990s, Mugello (I) already hosted exciting DTM-races.
Modifications of the regulations to further increase series' appeal
Modifications in the sporting regulations have been designed to further increase the appeal of the DTM. Qualifying on Saturday (so far 45 minutes with a maximum of twelve laps) is to be separated as of 2003. It starts with a 20 minutes' timed practice with up to nine laps for each driver. This decides on the line-up of grid positions eleven and further, as well as the starting order for the so-called "Super-Pole" lap.
After a five minutes' break, the ten fastest drivers will start for their individual flying lap in reverse order. This will decide on the grid positions one to ten.
The points scheme for the main race will follow the new scheme of the Formula 1, with points for first to eighth place (10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1). So far, points were only given up to sixth place. The points for the qualification race (3-2-1) remain unchanged. Next to the drivers' classification, there will be a manufacturers' classification in 2003. Similarly to the drivers' points scheme, all cars of a manufacturer will be able to score points.
A further reduction of the costs will, among others, be achieved by a change in the technical regulations: the number of four litre V8-engines that are available will be reduced. Next year, the two-car teams will only have a total number of three engines for the entire season, instead of the four engines used so far. These engines can be used alternately.