Berger: DTM ready to change calendar for potential newcomers
DTM chairman Gerhard Berger has suggested that the series' calendar could expand into new countries to suit the needs of any new manufacturers wishing to enter the championship.
Doubt over the DTM's future has been cast in the wake of Mercedes’ recent announcement that it will withdraw at the end of 2018, potentially leaving only Audi and BMW participating from 2019.
But Berger believes expanding the series' schedule - currently made up of five German rounds and one each in the Netherlands, Hungary, Austria and Russia - could help entice a new manufacturer on board.
Since its 2000 relaunch, the DTM has also visited the UK (Donington Park and Brands Hatch), Italy (Adria and Mugello), Spain (Barcelona and Valencia), Belgium (Spa and Zolder), France (Le Mans and Dijon), Portugal (Estoril), the Czech Republic (Brno) and Turkey (Istanbul).
Additionally, it held a non-championship event in Shanghai in 2004, and returned there for a full points-paying round in 2010, the last time the series has ventured outside of Europe (pictured above).
“We are too German, but at the same time Germany has a strong touring car soul, and DTM has a special fan club,” said Berger at Zandvoort. “The most successful races we have are in Germany, but we have done Moscow – we had 25,000 people in Moscow.
“We have Moscow, Holland, Germany, Hungary, Austria, and maybe in the future one or two more. That helps with other manufacturers.”
BMW motorsport boss Jens Marquardt however urged caution over any radical change to the calendar, saying that any new territory would have to make "financial sense" for the DTM to visit.
"I think what we’re talking about is a premium championship, German-based in Europe," he said. "This is the base of DTM and what we have to work on as a priority.
"It depends on who is interested. We have out of nine rounds, four outside [of Germany], so nearly half and half. It has to make financial sense, but also in regards to interest. We should run where people want to have it. To run in front of empty grandstands doesn’t make a lot of sense."
Asked about the prospect of fewer German races on the calendar, Audi motorsport boss Dieter Gass simply said: "It’s a little bit early to assess that, but in theory, why not?"
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