Marquardt Looks Ahead To 2013 DTM Challenges


As we near the beginning of the DTM season, BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt took time out at the recent DTM Media Day, to talk about his views on how things have changed for the Munich outfit, which saw it win all three titles in its comeback year, as well as having several notable changes in how the squad operate in its title defence.  You then have to factor in the new technical challenges for the team, how the car has been developed in the off-season, as well as new members joining the BMW family for 2013.

Based on the experience we gained last season, we have generally made the car more robust,” stated the former Toyota F1 team boss, who said that aerodynamic development is incredibly limited, meaning a new area of focus has become paramount on developing the cars for the 2013 season. “In particular, improvements to the set-up of our BMW M3 DTM can make all the difference on race weekends. The race engineers in the individual teams, together with the drivers, play a key role in that regard.” 

Now the race weekends have been compressed to just two days on each of the ten stops  on the calendar, Marquardt said that getting used to the processes that came thoughout the ‘comeback’ season was a challenge that the team stood up to, but now that the race weekends have been shortened, it makes things more demanding for all: “When preparing for the 2013 season, we primarily tried to improve the interplay between the mechanics in the garage, as well as the communication between engineers and crews. We strived to make the entire structure more efficient. In order to simulate the new conditions, we erected everything just as it would be on a race weekend for the first time at the test in Hockenheim – from the pit wall to the radio network. Generally speaking, we welcome the new race format, as we believe it will make the weekends more compact and more exciting.”

BMW has gone in the opposite direction of Mercedes-Benz, as it extends its ranks to eight, as Team MTEK‘s Ernest Knoors, Timo Glock and Marco Wittmann have had to adapt quickly to get up to speed in order to make sure they are competitive from the minute first practice gets underway at Hockenheim, with integration being difficult for all at Munich: “Furthermore, we at BMW Motorsport obviously had to adapt the entire infrastructure to suit four teams and eight cars. The structure of meetings also changed, because you simply need more time for everything, particularly communication between everyone involved when you have eight drivers and eight cars. That also fell into place very well during the preparations.” 

DRS and the option tyres have been brought into help to make things a little more interesting for all, as the movable rear wing was originally tested on just one car to not hamper normal testing, but as the Drag Reduction System has evolved and developed over time, it has become a welcome addition to the playing field that drivers will have to adapt to as the year progresses. The option tyres will not really be gauged properly, until used in anger during the race, according to Marquardt, who says that the new compound tyre is faster, but will suffer degradation: “Even after the tests, we do not know exactly how it will behave. We will only find that out in Hockenheim when we use the tyre in a race for the first time. Even then, however, we will not be able to say exactly how it will function on the remaining circuits. So, even after testing, there is still a certain unknown quantity in this area.” 
BMW Motorsport has also endorsed the use of the two new elements, that will add their own dynamics to the DTM for 2013, with hopefully some differences around Brands Hatch being clear to see, especially as the 22 V8 brutes from the three premium luxury brands hurtle towards Paddock Hill Bend in the middle of May. Expect to see some more fireworks for all involved, no matter their relevance to the team they represent…