Timo Scheider

Timo Scheider’s DTM column: “DTM with Räikkönen and Hülkenberg – that would be awesome”

The DTM is holding its ninth and final race weekend of the season at Hockenheim (racing Saturday and Sunday, live on SAT.1 at 1.00 pm). In his column, ranDTM pundit Timo Scheider writes about the arrival of Japanese guests, famous names in the DTM and the future of the series.

Dear motorsport friends and DTM fans,

It seems like only yesterday that I was busy writing my first DTM column for the start of the new season. Time flies, the final round will be happening this weekend, and it’s going to be mega. The championship has already been decided. René Rast deserved to win, but nevertheless, Hockenheim will still be a season highlight (racing Saturday and Sunday, live on SAT.1 at 1.00 pm).

And here’s the reason why, no less than six different brands will be in the Hockenheim line-up, as Honda, Nissan and Lexus are fielding cars from the Japanese Super GT as guest entrants. It’s great that after all these years of talking about becoming more international, something has finally been done and we’ll get to see it. This has to be a positive development, there’s no doubt about that.

Kimi would be amazing
And then Jenson Button, an ex-Formula 1 World Champion, will also be in the line-up. The media have been shouting long and hard for years that we need drivers, warts and all, who think for themselves. Names and guys like Button can only be good for the DTM, because people with more experience and success, who have a bigger name mean more to everyone and that automatically makes things more entertaining.

For example, I think Kimi Räikkönen would be amazing, or even Nico Hülkenberg, who is being moved on out of Formula 1. I think he would do just great, for sure! Robert Kubica has also come onto the market just recently. As far as names go, he would have little or no bearing on the DTM, as he’s struggled a little out on the Formula 1 track. He is not the sort to improve the quality of the championship.

But things in the DTM are going well. Through his thrusting race performance, Rast has increased in self-confidence, has enhanced his reputation and attracted interest from outside of the series, which can also turn you into an icon. He has found a way of marketing himself. He has set the benchmark in the sport, shaping the DTM both as a driver and person. Things for him are going amazingly well. If he can just continue in the same vein a little bit, then he’ll definitely set one or two records.

Speaking of the future, what impact will Super GT’s presence this weekend and the DTM’s return visit to Fuji in November have on the DTM’s future? I wouldn’t really like to say at the moment even though I can see that guest appearances might work.

But whether making the series more international and having more events abroad as a result is the right thing to do and whether all the venues are attractive enough – we’ll see.

I can perhaps understand it from a manufacturer’s point of view, but as regards the fans, I remain sceptical. It’s different and maybe even opens up new possibilities.

To my mind, the roots of the DTM are German and should remain so. That should also continue to be reflected in the name which is about to change and become more international. I do not believe that changing the name will have any influence on markets or manufacturers. DTM history is so big and strong that these three letters are an integral part of it.

On voyage of discovery
The DTM is currently on a voyage of discovery. We’ve seen plenty of good races, a good product that can stand improvement in places. It’s an ongoing process, not an easy one and is risky, because car manufacturers currently have other concerns, which makes it difficult to attract new blood to the series, since going electric is at the top of the agenda. The DTM will not be able to duck the issue either, because you have to move with the times.

With all these thoughts in mind, have fun at Hockenheim or with ran racing on SAT.1.

Yours, Timo Scheider