The revision for the upcoming season is over and the teams have had their final day of preparation, as the three premium brands that comprise of the DTM count down the days until racing gets underway at the opening race in a few weeks’ time. BMW Motorsport were clearly at the top of the class, as the second and final official ITR test came to a close at the Hockenheim circuit with the top three times being set by a trio of M3 DTMs of Augusto Farfus, defending champion Bruno Spengler and ex-Formula 1 driver Timo Glock.
The teams will now go back to their respective bases and analyse the data that has been gathered on all 8 days of testing in both Spain and Germany, with over 14,000km of information under their belts respectively, as well as getting used to the new technical changes in the form of the Drag Reduction System and the Hankook option tyres.
Farfus posted the fastest time of all four days at the Hockenheimring, with a 1:32.976, with Spengler just two tenths behind. The Brazilian said it was good to be back at the track, where the aggression comes back in spades on May 5th when the lights go out, but said that the weather played its part in how testing proceeded, but was very positive overall: “It is always beneficial to be able to complete a few laps in the wet, of course, but we would really have preferred more consistent conditions to allow us to prepare for the new season. Despite this, the overall impression is a positive one. Although preparations for the new season were generally very short, we are on the right track with regard to the start of the season.”
Former Marussia F1 driver Glock had a very positive outcome for both himself, Team MTEK and the Munich manufacturer, placing third on the time sheets with a 1:33.189. He was clearly optimistic about the fact that to get some wet-weather running at Hockenheim came in earnest for some good preparation in his new office for 2013: “We are getting better lap after lap and we are also getting quicker with the pit stops, which we have practiced intensely. Noticing an upward trend from one test to another makes me feel good. Hopefully, this trend will also continue during the first race at Hockenheim. In Formula 1, I wasn’t used to such a late start into the season, but surely, my maiden DTM race for BMW at the Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg in front of packed grandstands will be an undisputed highlight in my career. For me, a new era begins.”
2010 Le Mans 24 Hours winner Mike Rockenfeller was fastest out of the Audi drivers on the final day, posting a 1:33.630 lap time in his Team Rosberg RS 5DTM. The German said that the week was very productive for both himself and the team, as every conceivable scenario was flung their way: “The experiences with the option tyre were very positive. You almost don’t want to drive the normal compound any more once you’ve tried it. I was able to test the DRS a bit as well. I’m eager to see how it’ll feel in actual use in the race.”
Christian Vietoris led the times for Mercedes-Benz in fourth place with a 1:33.453, and as the German driver starts his third DTM season, there were unwelcome interruptions, but was please with the testing overall: “All in all, however, I am happy with the test. The team has done a great job and we most certainly have a car that is competitive for the upcoming season.”
The “New-Era” of the DTM continues, as the drivers and teams are now in the final stages of getting their cars up to par for the onslaught of full-throttle racing, with 10 races at renowned tracks and a new addition in the form of the DTM’s premiere at the Moscow Speedway in August. With DRS and option tyres looking to add more to the show for the avid fans that attend the races and watch on their TV screens at home, the DTM is evolving from both a technical and international standpoint, which promises to add more excitement for all involved….
We’ll be bringing you our Season Preview in just a fortnight’s time, as TheCheckeredFlag.co.uk looks at the combatants in this year’s title fight, as well as an exclusive interview with Stuttgart’s lead driver Gary Paffett, as he looks to go one better this season…
Until then, the countdown until Day x continues… when racing gets underway in Hockenheim.