30. April 2018

Green light for the new season

The wait is finally over on Saturday: When the first DTM race of the 2018 season gets underway at the HockenheimRing Baden-Württemberg, it will be exactly 202 days since Marco Wittmann last battled for championship points at the same track in his BMW M4 DTM. And if the BMW driver has anything to do with it, the new season can get underway in the same way that the old one ended: with a Wittmann win.

Meanwhile, the DTM has not only found a new TV home at SAT.1, there have also been changes to the regulations, which are intended to make the races more exciting. Changes to the aerodynamics mean reduced contact pressure, to make the handling of the cars more unstable and more challenging for the drivers. Modified airflow at the front should also make overtaking easier, because the aerodynamics react less sensitively in the slipstream.

Marco Wittmann can hardly wait to finally test how these changes work in race conditions, and what the balance of power is like compared with the rivals Audi and Mercedes. “The first race of the season will show where we really are. We have definitely done our homework, I’m optimistic going into the first race weekend. Every one of us is really looking forward to the season finally getting underway. You definitely notice the modifications to the car. It will make everything more exciting,” said the man from the Franconian region, for whom the HockenheimRing is a good track. The win at the 2017 season finale was his ninth DTM win overall, he also celebrated his first at the Motodrom in Baden, on the track on which the DTM has held more races than anywhere else, on 4th May 2014.

Once again this season, drivers will do battle for points four times in Hockenheim, twice at the season opener and twice at the season finale, as is tradition. In 2018, a total of 20 races will be held over ten weekends, two more races than in 2017. The field of 18 drivers contains a total of seven previous champions, Marco Wittmann is the only one who has bagged the DTM trophy twice – in 2014 and 2016. And no doubt he has no objection to continuing this pattern of winning every other year.

The DTM fans not only have to get used to a new start time this year – with the exception of the first two night races in the series in Misano, Italy at the end of August, all races will start at 1:30 p.m. CET, they will also have a new programme button on the remote control for their TV. SAT.1 has taken over from ARD and wants to bring a breath of fresh air to the series with the presenter duo of Andrea Kaiser and Matthias Killing, and commentator Edgar Mielke. Mielke will be supported by co-commentator Timo Scheider – Marco Wittmann’s colleague in the squad of BMW works drivers was DTM champion twice himself. For extensive pre-race reporting, SAT.1 will go live with “ran racing” at 1:00 p.m. CET on both Saturday and Sunday. The qualifying sessions on Saturday and Sunday, each held between 11:25 and 11:45 a.m. CET, like all free practice sessions and the races, will be shown live on the website www.dtm.com and in the official DTM app.