DTM could change name to broaden international appeal
DTM boss Gerhard Berger says a name change for the series is “on the radar” as organising body ITR attempts to broaden the tin-top championship’s global appeal.
Ex-Formula 1 driver Berger has repeatedly stated his intentions to improve the global credentials of the DTM since becoming ITR chairman last year, and is targeting luring a new manufacturer to replace the soon-to-exit Mercedes.
But Berger admitted that, looking further ahead, the current Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters name could limit the series’ worldwide marketability.
“[The name] has a lot of pluses and a lot of minuses,” he told Motorsport.com. “It’s always a matter but in Germany there’s a very, very strong fan crew who are behind DTM.
"But outside of Germany they would like to have a more international name. We have [a change] on the radar but so far no conclusion."
Audi's head of motorsport, Dieter Gass, accepted that the DTM moniker made “life difficult for the championship”.
“It’s something that needs to be looked at properly,” he said. “On the other hand, DTM is a brand name as well and everybody knows what DTM is. There’s two sides to the matter really.
“The ‘D’ in particular now for us, and for Gerhard to talk to potential new manufacturers outside of Germany, is a problem.”
Gass added that DTM should be open to morphing into a full world championship, like that of the 1996 International Touring Car Championship.
The ITC - which collapsed at the end of that year, four years prior to the revival of the modern DTM in 2000 - featured a predominantly European calendar but also held rounds in both Brazil and Japan.
“I think a championship like [DTM as it is now] in the long term, purely German, will be quite difficult to sustain,” Gass said. “We need to be more international.”
But Berger added that moving towards a world championship was at least another two years away.
“Step-by-step, we have to strengthen first our core product within the DTM, especially in countries like Britain or Italy,” he said.
“We’re back again but it takes two or three years to stabilise it and bring it back ahead of the fans. So it’s not a one-off where you’re going to be successful, it takes time.
"I would say in year three, if it’s adapted in new places, we could think about the next step.”
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