Thrilling motor racing, great characters and fascinating cars – that’s what the three letters DTM have been standing for for three decades, now. Once they were the acronym for ‘Deutsche Tourenwagen-Meisterschaft’ (German Touring Car Championship), today they are the trademark of the most popular international touring-car series that was awarded the European Race Series of the Year Award, in 2012.
The reward for a thrilling season, with Audi, Mercedes-Benz and BMW after its comeback being involved in a fantastic three-way-fight up to the final round of the season.
In the previous year, the three German premium manufacturers had established a new DTM era – not only by the comeback of BMW after an absence of nearly 20 years. New technical regulations were introduced, and a new, spectacular generation of cars replaced the predecessors.
The Audi A5 DTM, the BMW M3 DTM and the DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé thrilled the fans right away. Lower and wider than the previous generation they made for a new appearance of the DTM vehicles. Added to the more aggressive optics were the massive power of about 500 hp and the unique sound of the V8 engines.
In addition, the safety for the drivers was increased once again. With this step, DTM leaped to an in touring car racing previously unmatched safety standard.
At the same time, the new regulations also fulfilled the wish for a competitive field. And consequently, all the three brands – Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz – succeeded in celebrating race wins in 2012. The fight for the title ended only on the final meters of the season when Canada’s BMW ace Bruno Spengler defeated Gary Paffett (Mercedes-Benz) in their battle for the title. And the brand and team titles also were secured by the BMW camp, in the end.
BMW’s last DTM champion before Spengler was Italian Roberto Ravaglia in 1989 – in the fi rst DTM era that began in 1984 with close-to-production touring cars and peaked in 1996 in a globally contested series for high-tech touring cars. In 2000, following a three-year break, DTM made a successful comeback with a trend setting concept: fascinating technology at reasonable costs. And in 2012, the new technical regulations meant another major leap for the series.
The maiden DTM race was contested on March 11th, 1984, at Zolder, Belgium – and today, more than 250 DTM meetings have been held. The list of car manufacturers that raced in DTM is long and the list of stars that made a major impact on the series is even longer: Klaus Ludwig, Hans-Joachim Stuck and Bernd Schneider – with five titles under his belt the DTM Record Champion – or former Formula 1 aces such as Keke Rosberg, Jean Alesi, Mika Häkkinen, David Coulthard and Ralf Schumacher.
And they all remained DTM enthusiasts even after having retired and will remain part of the DTM history forever. A new driver generation featuring Mattias Ekström, Timo Scheider, Martin Tomczyk, Gary Paffett or Bruno Spengler has established and provides the DTM enthusiasts just as thrilling battles for points, race wins and titles.
DTM - GRAND-AM - Super GT