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DTM considering holding qualifying just before race under 2024 rules shake-up

The ADAC is contemplating a major shift in the DTM weekend format that would see qualifying take place immediately before the race in 2024.

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Under the current schedule, the starting grid for each race is decided by a 20-minute shootout at 9am, when many fans are yet to reach the track.

As part of the proposed shake-up, a shorter qualifying could take place at 1pm, followed immediately by the race at 1:30pm - the standard starting time for all DTM races.

This would give teams little time to plan their strategies for the race, which in theory should lead to more entertaining action on track.

This plan would also help in condensing a DTM meeting from three days to just two, as practice can be moved from Friday to Saturday morning. 

ProSieben, which broadcasts DTM in Germany and Austria, has put its support behind the proposal, which would also allow it to show qualifying on TV for the first time.

"I find the idea exciting from a TV point of view, because we would have one more live event in the programme," Alexander Wilffing, the head of motorsport at ProSieben, told Motorsport.com’s sister title Motorsport-Total.com. 

"Besides, that [qualifying/race rapid-fire format] would be a unique selling point for the DTM in motorsport. The exact implementation and what that would mean for the preliminary coverage would have to be looked at in detail."

The idea has also been well received by the paddock, with the head of a team saying: “That would significantly improve the show and would also be great for the spectators.”

The DTM could also keep qualifying at the same time, but shorten the session from 20 minutes to just 10, making it more compact and exciting. However, this may not go down well with the Mercedes contingent, as the AMG GT3 takes longer to get its tyres up to temperature than other cars on the grid.

Testing ban also under consideration

Christian Engelhart, Toksport WRT Porsche 911 GT3-R

Christian Engelhart, Toksport WRT Porsche 911 GT3-R

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

Another proposal that has been floated for 2024 is a ban on testing. DTM teams currently spend a considerable number of resources to hold private tests on almost every track on the calendar. 

The ADAC had been reluctant to ban testing outright at the beginning of the year, as the wide usage of GT3 cars in multiple championships makes it nearly impossible to regulate any running outside of race weekends.

One way around this problem, as suggested by teams, would be for DTM to move away from standard Pirelli GT3 rubber and adopt Confidential Tyres.

Confidential Tyres are produced by a number of manufacturers, including DTM’s current partner Pirellli, and are specifically designed for the Nurburgring-Nordschleife. If the DTM were to move to Confidential Tyres, it would be easier to catch teams illegally running them in a private test.

The majority of GT3 championships around the world currently run on Pirelli’s standard GT3 tyres and are widely available to teams.

But such a move won’t come without issues, as the Balance of Performance for DTM and most other series is set based on data gathered using standard Pirelli GT3 tyres.

This would mean SRO would have to determine a separate BoP for the DTM, and it would have considerably less data to accurately balance the relative performance of cars.

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