Round five of the 2013 DTM season gets underway very soon, as the 22 drivers and 3 luxury car manufacturers get set to battle around the 2.3km street track, which demands the highest level of concentration over the 83-lap race distance. Last year saw an action-packed race that was won by “Mr. Norisring,” Audi Sport’s Jamie Green, who has won 4 out of the last five races, wining for HWA, and pipping BMW’s Martin Tomczyk on the final corner.
As previous years have shown, the set up is crucial, the mindset must be fully focused on the task at hand, as the slightest mistake will be punished severely, as drivers have found out over the years. One man looking to make an impact in his own neighbourhood in his ICE WATCH BMW M3 DTM this weekend is local hero Marco Wittmann, whose family and friends will be attendance this weekend. Wittman is currently 6th in the standings, and is behind Bruno Spengler and Augusto Farfus in the BMW hierarchy, when it comes to results this season, having secured his best finish of second place at the Red Bull Ring this year.
He took time out of his busy schedule and kindly spoke to us here at TheCheckeredFlag.co.uk about how the stop/start track needs to be catered for completely, as well as giving a detailed insight into how the car has to handle to get the most out of it.
“At first glance, the Norisring looks to be a really simple layout, with its two hairpins and an S bend. However, the characteristic of the circuit really puts both man and machine to the test. The driver must give every one of the 83 laps his maximum concentration.”
The barriers that surround the bumpy asphalt can be a real danger, as Marco goes on to explain, especially with how tight the circuit is in places. So now, we leave it to the young driver to take over, as he takes us around on a flying lap, as well as set-up characteristics needed for the track: “At the end of the start/finish straight, we hit the first of the two hairpins. The cars require the maximum steering lock, in order to get through the corner cleanly. It is important to get the right braking point and then position the car accurately, as you then have to get back on the gas early.
“This is so enough momentum can gained from the hairpin, which is needed for the Schöller S. We then accelerate up to 250 km/h, before slamming on the brakes and decelerating dramatically on the approach to the Dutzendteich hairpin.
“It is important that the brakes do not cool down too much on the long straights, but at the same time, it is critical to not let them overheat during the hard braking manoeuvres.
“Furthermore, the car must remain stable at all times when braking. The front axle must not be allowed to dip too much, otherwise the car will start to lurch about on the rear axle.
“The rear axle set-up should also be soft enough to guarantee the best possible traction when accelerating. This is a real challenge for the engineers. Parts of the track surface have also been repaired prior to the race at the Norisring.
“However, as this is a street circuit, the track is made up of totally different surfaces, which also offer little grip. Although the layout of the Norisring may not look particularly spectacular, the circuit is a genuine test for all comers.”
So as Mercedes-Benz celebrates its 25th anniversary of DTM competition at in Nuremberg, Wittmann is just one of the drivers to keep a close eye on this weekend, as the DRS will potentially provide some overtaking on the long back straight, with the option tyres probably coming under some heavy use on the abrasive and changeable surfaces that are normally reserved for road users only.
It will be a race to remember, as the DTM carries on its fast-paced, heart-stopping & action-packed journey, as the drivers, teams and manufacturers are striving towards top honours by the end of the season. Who will be the man to win, come rain or come shine?
We’d like to thank Marco for talking to us, and wish him all the best of luck for the upcoming weekend. This DTM rookie is one to watch…