Another racing series starts engines for the first time this 2013 motorsport season. Combining produced-based vehicles of Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz with some of the greatest road course in Europe, the DTM Series is set to receive a 24-car field at the Hockenheimring. Ready for a fresh tour, the cast and characters of the 2013 DTM Series will stand on an all-new stage with the off-season announcement of several changes.
Beyond the 42-lap race at the Hockenheimring opening the 2013 11-race schedule, the DTM championship will present a fair assortment of familiar and new tracks. The Eurospeedway Lausitzring round was moved from the 2nd to 4th event on the 2013 DTM Series calendar. The 2013 season will open with trips to three countries. A series long accepted as German-based, the DTM Series continues to branch out across Europe and beyond. The biggest addition to the 2013 DTM Series schedule is an inaugural Moscow Raceway round at a 2.555-kilometer on August 8th. A Spanish round held last year in Valencia has been dropped from the calendar, as has a non-points event that operated at Munich, Germany’s Olympic Stadium.
Winning four races in 2012, long-time DTM Series mainstay Mercedes-Benz suffered an overall unstable outing last season. The HWA Team competing with the AMG Mercedes-Benz C-Coupe was a potent organization throughout the 2012 season with Gary Paffett and Christian Vietoris. The HWA Team’s lead driver Paffett fell short of the 2012 driver’s title. Gary Paffett returns to the HWA Team driving Euronics colours. I can’t wait to finally get started in Hockenheim and intend to be back on the attack once again in my EURONICS Mercedes AMG C-Coupé. My goal is clear: to fight for the championship and not be pipped at the post again in the finale at Hockenheim.” said Paffett. Canadian driver Robert Wickens transfers to the HWA Team in 2013 driving a STIHL sponsored car. “My orange and white STIHL Mercedes AMG C-Coupé is definitely one of the coolest designs seen on the DTM grid this year. In my whole racing career, I’ve certainly never seen a paint job that I liked better. Our goal now is to make sure that we don’t just look cool but are also fast.” said Wickens. Female driver Susie Wolff left Mercedes-Benz and the DTM Series in favour of a Formula 1 test driver post with the Williams F1 team.
Enjoying a big reintroduction to the DTM Series last season, BMW quickly came up to speed with their M3 DTM race car. Finding victory lane in only the second race of the season, the return of BMW to DTM was led by series veteran Bruno Spengler. After an opening race mishap, the Canadian driver went on a tear winning four of ten 2012 DTM events. A late season retirement by Gary Paffett gave Bruno Spengler a window of opportunity to pursue the series title, with an important victory in the 2012 series finale, Spengler won his first-ever DTM championship in 2012. Bruno Spengler returns as the defending champion in the #1 BMW M3. Valencia round winner Dirk Werner, 2011 DTM champion Martin Tomczyk, Dirk Werner and American Joey Hand return to a series. Two additional M3 race cars will be included in 2013 DTM competition as BMW Team MTEK fields Marco Wittmann and former Formula 1 driver Timo Glock.
Audi is looking for redemption in 2013 DTM Series. Winning only two regular series DTM Series events in 2012 (both at the hands of Italian Edoardo Mortara, Audi Sport was seen lagging behind the Mercedes-Benz and newcomer BMW. Audi team’s top star Mattias Ekstrom driving a Red Bull sponsored Audi A5 found victory in the non-point scoring knockout race held at Munich’s Olympic Stadium. This year, Audi adopts the RS5 name for their race vehicles in 2013 eager to discover a change in attitude for the new season. Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline organization pouched former Mercedes-Benz driver and last season’s third place finisher in the driver standings Jamie Green. “For me, the race at Hockenheim not only is a great challenge but the beginning of a new chapter in my life”, said Green. An eight-car contingent of Audi RS5 DTM cars is intent take full honours this season.
The only mechanical change to the cars in 2013 is with the adaptation of a Formula 1-style Drag Reduction System (DRS). During approved periods of the race, the movable DRS rear wing element on DTM machine cars adjust to allow five to ten kilometers per hour addition speed down a straightaway. The DRS will be enabled for drivers within two seconds behind another vehicle. A meaningful contribution to overtaking in Formula 1, DRS inclusion in the 2013 DTM Series could put race leaders under considerable more pressure in events.
Other changes to the 2013 DTM Series revolves around racing procedure. Fixed pit windows used last year have been abolished for this season’s events. Instead, teams are permitted to pit for tires beyond the third lap until three laps remaining in a main event. Tire supplier Hankook has also thrown in a unique variable with the inclusion of an option tire at 2013 DTM races. Good for producing lap times up to 1.5 seconds faster than the regular racing tire, the optional Hankook tire’s softer compound will wear quicker. Unlike last season, work on the DTM between qualifying and the main race is strictly limited.
The DTM Series has been a globally accepted auto racing organization that is winning influence with every passing year. By 2014, the Japanese Super GT series will unify with the DTM regulations. Plans to operate a DTM style tour in the United States has also been brought back to focus. Originally intended through the Grand-Am Road Racing body, the initiative has been reaffirmed recently following the announcement of the United SportsCar Racing. An American-based DTM Series is suggested to start by 2015 at the earliest.
Information and photo source: Audi AG, BMW AG, DTM, Daimler AG