Timo Scheider’s DTM column for the new DTM era: “The sparks ought to really fly”
Dear motorsport friends, dear DTM fans,
The DTM is reinventing itself again for 2019 with new regs, new cars, a new engine and even more horsepower. Drivers are going to need plenty of balls, for sure, to tame the new turbo-engined beast of a car with more than 600 bhp!
But what the DTM also really needs is more guys with personality. Big steps have been taken in terms of performance, technology and speed for the 2019 season, so the stars ought to try and keep up, because, in order to have more spectacular racing, you also need the right guys behind the wheel.
We want to see a great spectacle
I’ve been saying this for some time now. The DTM lacks drivers with character, guys who are prepared to be loud and open. They need to be louder and more extrovert! They should say loud and clear when something was crap. We don’t need politically correct drivers, no yes-men, thank you, but sparks ought to fly a little from time to time. Yes please! A bit of controversy, some conflict, a few choice moments. That would be great. We want spectacle. I hope that the things being introduced can spice things up a bit, because drivers have a lot on their plate.
You get to hear the same thing from all the manufacturers, loud and clear. It’s not a question of who has the fastest car to start with, but rather, how do we get through this? Which car will stay in one piece to the finish line, because the new four-cylinder turbo engine with its high revs and vibrations throws up quite a few technical problems?
And that also raises a completely new set of challenges for teams and drivers, because the drivers will clearly feel the difference, that the car is now very different to drive thanks to its increased performance. It’s also possible that, as a result, we might once again see something we’ve not had in a long time, drivers being forced to retire with technical issues.
At the same time, drivers who can nurse tyres will be much in demand again. Cars with their higher power will literally devour rear tyres. Before, drivers could mount an all-out attack, but now, they’ll have to watch what they do with tyres and try to find the right balance between being aggressive and being defensive. They will have to be sensitive on the accelerator pedal. We can look forward to plenty of real wheel-to-wheel battles, though! When setting up the car with the team and engineer, drivers will have much more to think about than ever before thanks to the new engine and tyres.
Start procedures – a hot topic
The first real challenge will come right at the start, as technical starting aids have been done away with, making life really difficult. Getting away while operating a carbon-fibre clutch can be tricky, because there’s not much leeway. The start will be a real minefield. Anything can happen – jumping the start, false start, stalling the engine. There’s every chance that a driver might show himself up. This is a very hot topic, most definitely.
The adjustable rear wing will still be present but the push-to-pass system is new. Drivers will be able to briefly call on an extra 30 bhp at the touch of a button. People who know me are well aware that I don’t really think much of artificial overtaking aids, because they always leave you with a nasty aftertaste. The race leader should not be put at a disadvantage. It can also lead to tactical games at the end of a race. Still, action is guaranteed, which is a step in the right direction for the DTM.
Maybe I’ll see you at Hockenheim, or perhaps you can catch up with me while watching the DTM in ‘ran racing’ on SAT.1!
Regards, Timo Scheider