NEW QUALIFYING FORMAT PROMISES EVEN MORE EXCITEMENT A new format for qualifying on Saturday promises even more excitement in the DTM, the premier international touring car series. Details of the modified sporting regulations were unveiled during...
NEW QUALIFYING FORMAT PROMISES EVEN MORE EXCITEMENT
A new format for qualifying on Saturday promises even more excitement in the DTM, the premier international touring car series. Details of the modified sporting regulations were unveiled during a press conference at the series' official pre-season launch in the city centre of Düsseldorf.
"The purpose of the new qualifying format is making it even more attractive, both for the spectators at the circuit and for the viewers in front of the TV-screens", said Hans Werner Aufrecht, chairman of the DTM-organisation ITR e.V.
Shoot-Out like in Formula 1
The 30 minutes' timed practice and the flying "Super Pole" lap for the ten fastest drivers used so far will be replaced by a so-called shoot-out like it has been used in Formula 1 since the start of the current season. In the DTM, the running order will be as follows: initially, all 20 cars will be on the track for 14 minutes.
After a seven minutes' break, the 14 fastest cars will be running again for 10 minutes on their way to another fast lap time. These ten minutes will be followed by another seven minutes' break. Then, the eight fastest drivers will be out for seven minutes again to decide on the positions in the first four lines of the starting grid.
Three different generations of vehicles on the track
In the 2006 DTM, there will be vehicles from three different generations on the track for the first time. For the current cars to 2006-standards, the DTM commission has decided upon a minimum weight of 1070 kg. Touring cars to 2005 standards must weigh in at 1060 kg, while the minimum weight for 2004-spec cars has been set at 1020 kg.
Result ballast has been kept upright, too. When a manufacturer wins the race, all 2006-spec cars of this manufacturer will gave to add five kg for the next race, with a maximum of 20 kg. The current cars of the manufacturer that doesn't win are allowed to take out five kg for the next race, with a maximum of ten kg. These measures contribute to more equal chances, which makes the DTM so popular among spectators.
Ten rounds in five countries
The opening round of the DTM season will be taking place at the Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg on April 9. This circuit will also be hosting the 2006 season final on October 29. The calendar includes a total of ten events from early April until the end of October. Four rounds are taking place in foreign European countries.
Next to the race at Zandvoort in The Netherlands, that has already become a tradition, the DTM will also be racing for the first time at the circuits of Brands Hatch (GB), Barcelona (E) and Le Mans (F). The German rounds will be taking place at the Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg, the EuroSpeedway Lausitz, the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben, the Nürburgring and the Norisring in Nuremberg. Thus, the DTM is being represented in all the major European markets for passenger cars.
Entry with 20 cars from Audi and Mercedes-Benz
For this season, the DTM entry includes 20 cars. Audi and Mercedes-Benz are each entering ten vehicles. Among the drivers are well-known motor sport stars like two times' Formula 1 world champion, Mika Häkkinen, Jean Alesi, a veteran of 201 Grands Prix, and DTM record-champion Bernd Schneider (all Mercedes-Benz), as well as the 1997 F1 World Championship runner-up Heinz-Harald Frentzen, ex-DTM champion Mattias Ekström and Le Mans record-winner Tom Kristensen (all Audi).
New drivers in this year's DTM are two lady racers, Vanina Ickx (Audi) and Susie Stoddart (Mercedes-Benz), German Daniel la Rosa and Austrian Mathias Lauda (both Mercedes-Benz) and Dutch driver, Olivier Tielemans (Audi).