New regulations, new drivers – the 2014 DTM

The forthcoming season that will be kicked off on 04th May, several regulation changes and new faces on the grid will once again make for enthralling motor racing and for even more variety.

Since 30 years, now, DTM gas been thrilling its fans with touring-car racing at its best. And in the forthcoming season that will be kicked off on 04th May, several regulation changes and new faces on the grid will once again make for enthralling motor racing and for even more variety. Within the framework of a Media Day, at the beginning of the four days of ITR testing at the Hockenheimring, DTM rights holder and promoter ITR e.V. as well as the premium-car manufacturers involved, Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, looked ahead to the coming season but also took a look back on the series’ history, with the first DTM Champion, Volker Strycek (1984, BMW), Frank Biela (1991 Champion, Audi) and DTM Record Champion Bernd Schneider talking about their successes and their first contacts to the most popular international touring-car series.

2013 champion Mike Rockenfeller
2013 champion Mike Rockenfeller

Photo by: Audi Communications Motorsport

Suiting the season motto ‘30 Years of DTM’, the ‘Magnificient Seven’ will make for a unique premiere. For the first time in the series’ history, its grid will feature seven champions who all want to add another title to their tallies: DTM returnee Paul Di Resta and Gary Paffett (both Mercedes-Benz), BMW drivers Martin Tomczyk and Bruno Spengler as well as reigning champion Mike Rockenfeller, Mattias Ekström and Timo Scheider (all Audi). “I’m massively looking forward to the new season and just can’t wait for getting back behind the wheel to contest the first race of the season,” said reigning champion Rockenfeller. “I don’t feel pressure to defend the title. But it goes without saying that I will try to do so. But … sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.”

New on the DTM grid are Portuguese António Félix da Costa and Belgium’s Maxime Martin, who both are going to contest the season with BMW M4 DTM vehicles. Other ‘rookies’ are Russia’s former Formula 1 driver Vitaly Petrov in a DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé and the Swiss Nico Müller who will race an Audi RS 5 DTM.

With immediate effect, the 23 drivers have to come in for just one instead of the previously two obligatory pit stops, in the races. Making the obligatory pit stop during a safety-car period is prohibited. Following the safety-car period, the drivers have got six laps time for coming in for their obligatory pit stop, even if this should mean that the stop is made after the time window for the obligatory pit stop has closed.

Martin Tomczyk, BMW Team Schnitzer, Portrait
Martin Tomczyk, BMW Team Schnitzer, Portrait

Photo by: XPB Images

The use of the option tyres introduced in 2013 and provided by DTM’s exclusive tyre partner Hankook – that again may solely be used in the races – has been limited to 50 percent of the race distance. Following a safety-car period, the drivers who were racing on these tyres when the safety-car was sent out have got six laps time to pit for fresh tyres, even if they would cover more than 50 percent of the race distance, in this case. Meanwhile, the Drag Reduction System (DRS) that also was introduced in 2014, may be used – with immediate effect – to the end of the race, even on the final three laps.

The qualifying session comprises only three phases, this year. The individual time trial that had to be contested by the fastest four drivers (Q4) in the previous years has been nixed. In the first 13-minute phase of qualifying, the five slowest drivers are eliminated, and at the end of the 11-minute Q2, the qualifying session is over for the 10 slowest drivers of this phase. In the third and final phase, the eight fastest drivers will battle it out for the pole position. And there is another innovation: the performance weights. Depending on the results achieved, a brand has to add up to 10 kilos (a maximum of 5 kilos per race) or may get rid of up to 10 kilos (a maximum of 5 kilos per race).

Pascal Wehrlein, Mercedes AMG DTM-Team Mücke DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupe
Pascal Wehrlein, Mercedes AMG DTM-Team Mücke DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupe

Photo by: XPB Images

ITR Chairman Hans Werner Aufrecht on the new regulations: “We met with the manufacturers to think about what we could do for making reading the races easier, for the crowds. With the new regulations we have achieved this goal as the course of the races will be more transparent, for the spectators. Meanwhile, equal opportunities also are of major importance as every driver on the DTM grid is supposed to have the chance of battling it out for the race win.”

On 04th May, things will get serious for teams and drivers: the season kick-off traditionally is held at the Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg. Following round two, held at Oschersleben, DTM will travel to Budapest for its first abroad race of the season – followed by the rounds at the Norisring and Moscow. After a short summer break, the second half of the season will begin at Spielberg’s Red Bull Ring to then be continued at the Nürburgring and the Lausitzring. China will be the venue of the penultimate clash of teams and drivers and then, DTM will return to Hockenheim for the season finale.

Press-conference quotes:

Hans Werner Aufrecht (Chairman ITR e.V.): “A series must have existed for quite a while if you want to contest a season with seven champions on its grid. And this is the case, with DTM. In DTM, the best drivers cooperate with the best engineers to be successful.”

Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Audi Motorsport Director): “We have set ourselves ambitious goals but repeating a successful year in DTM is anything but easy. We worked hard in the off-season to make achieving this goal possible but everything has to run perfectly if we want to really make it. Only those who do a perfect job every single time will have good chances. Nico Müller is an extremely competitive young driver who also is very likeable and suits the Audi family perfectly.”

Jens Marquardt (BMW Motorsport Director): “The rule changes were developed by us manufacturers in cooperation with ITR. I’m convinced that they will represent a progress for DTM. After our debut season, with three titles won in 2012, we knew that we wouldn’t be able to repeat this success. But the fact that we succeeded in again winning the manufacturers’ title despite the strong competition made us proud. Now, in 2014, we are going to contest the season with a new car, the BMW M4 DTM, and want to again stand our ground in the tough DTM environment. Maxime Martin just deserved to become a part of BMW’s DTM programme. António Félix da Costa is fast and a perfect addition to our team. He will be an asset to both BMW and DTM.”

Toto Wolff (Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport): “DTM is both a development competition and a competition for the best talents and drivers. With BMW and Audi having won the 2012 and 2013 drivers’ titles it actually would be our turn, this year – but DTM is like roulette: two-time black doesn’t automatically mean that it's the turn of red, now. But it goes without saying that I hope that things will run better for us than they did in 2013. Vitaly Petrov certainly will need some time to adapt but if you made it to the podium in Formula 1 you can’t be too bad. And in the case of former champion Paul Di Resta, his experience will be an important factor, for us.”

Mike Rockenfeller (Audi): “I’m massively looking forward to the new season and just can’t wait for getting back behind the wheel to contest the first race of the season. I don’t feel pressure to defend the title. Having the #1 on the car represents a nice motivation. I also enjoy the days of testing with Audi. Here, we can do what we like most: sit behind the wheel and drive.”

Martin Tomczyk (BMW): “I have been racing in DTM for quite a while, now, and therefore I know that things will run better again, after the difficult 2013 season. The first tests were promising and my new team-mate, Bruno Spengler, and I are getting on really well with one another. We hopefully will be very successful.”

Pascal Wehrlein (Mercedes-Benz): “In 2013 I had to settle for finishing last and it won’t come as a surprise that I didn’t like that at all. But there also were good moments. At the end of the day, we just were too slow. Now I’m looking forward to the new challenge represented by racing for my new team, HWA.

DTM Record Champion Bernd Schneider (Mercedes-Benz, 1995, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2006): “If you see the extreme competitiveness on the DTM grid and the extremely close racing that could be witnessed in the series for many years, now, I’m really proud of having won so many titles, there. The best drivers of the world are battling it out with one another, in DTM.”

Volker Strycek (1. Champion BMW, 1984): “DTM is an optimally and professionally managed and organised race series. It’s the Formula 1 of touring-car racing.”

Frank Biela (Champion Audi, 1991): “DTM is contested by top drivers and top manufacturers and this already was the case when I was racing there. The competitiveness level always used to be extremely high. DTM still is the planet’s best touring-car series.”

DTM

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Series DTM
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Tags bernd schneider, dtm, frank biela , martin tomczyk, mike rockenfeller, pascal wehrlein

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