Novelties are making the DTM even more attractive Race distance of 160 kilometres -- two mandatory pit stops With attractive novelties in the sporting regulations, Europe's most popular touring car series is starting into its fourth year. The ...
Novelties are making the DTM even more attractive
Race distance of 160 kilometres -- two mandatory pit stops
With attractive novelties in the sporting regulations, Europe's most popular touring car series is starting into its fourth year. The new race format with races of approximately 160 kilometres and two mandatory pit stops is spectacular. Something new in the DTM is refuelling of the cars, that is allowed during these pit stops.
The top class starting field with internationally renowned stars and much-promising young racing drivers guarantees motorsport at its highest level. 21 drivers will be on the grid with fascinating touring cars from Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Opel. The calendar includes ten rounds, six of them in Germany and four in neighbouring countries. The Adria International Raceway in Italy is a new venue.
"Everything we are doing only serves the purpose of providing our customers at the race track and in front of the television screens with good entertainment and satisfy them as good as we can", says ITR chairman Hans Werner Aufrecht. Everything for the spectators, that also includes family- and youth-friendly ticket prices, the DTM's unique closeness to the fans and also the new starting and broadcasting times. The race starts are all at 14.00 h, ARD and ZDF will be broadcasting each time from 13.45 h onwards.
Stars like Alesi, Aiello, Reuter and Schneider, juniors from Audi and Opel
The 21-strong DTM starting field presents itself as a successful blend of the prove and the new. Long-standing DTM-stars like reigning champion Laurent Aiello (Abt-Audi), former ITC-champion Manuel Reuter (Opel) or three times' DTM-champion Bernd Schneider (Mercedes-Benz) will be fighting for victories and championship points once again, just like the international top drivers like Jean Alesi (Mercedes-Benz), Alain Menu (Opel) or Karl Wendlinger (Abt-Audi).
New for 2003 are Dutch driver Jeroen Bleekemolen (Opel), Japanese Katsutomo Kaneishi (Mercedes-Benz) and German Peter Terting (Abt-Audi). Up-and-coming drivers, such as Mattias Ekström (Abt-Audi), Timo Scheider (Opel) or Marcel Fässler (Mercedes-Benz) and much-promising juniors like Terting and Bleekemolen will be taking on the established stars.
With the new race format incredible 72 race laps at the Norisring
The most significant change in the regulations concerns the race format: the races will be approximately 160 kilometres long, instead of the 100 so far. For the Norisring, this results into a race distance of 72 laps. And the 44 laps in previous years already were highly exciting for the spectators, and extremely demanding for drivers and cars. The pit stops will be adding plenty of excitement as well. From 2003, two pit stops per car are compulsory. Change of the Dunlop tyres during both stops is mandatory, refuelling is just allowed -- but the DTM-cars will have to refuel at least once. Refuelling stops are new in the DTM, team tactics and strategy are more important than ever.
According to its new format, qualifying on Saturday starts with a 20 minutes' timed practice. This decides on the line-up of the starting grid from eleventh place onwards and the running order of the hunt for pole position. After a ten minutes' break, the ten fastest drivers will be out within 30 minutes for a single flying lap, the "Super Pole". The fastest driver from timed practice will be the last one out on the track.
The championship points system for the drivers, based on the Formula 1 system, is also new (points for first to eighth place 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1), just like the manufacturers' championship. Here, all cars of a manufacturer are being considered according to the points scheme of the drivers' championship.
In order to further reduce the costs, technical regulations only allow three engines for any two drivers in 2003, rather than four engines thus far. All cars have rear-wheel drive and V8-engines with a capacity of four litres. Many materials and components are standard, electronic driver aids are forbidden. DTM-tyre partner Dunlop is supplying all the teams with the same tyre specification.