The 2o14 DTM Championship is set to have another Asian adventure, as the fastest touring car series in the world heads to China for the third time in a decade. Guangzhou, which is close to Hong Kong, will be the background for the penultimate round of next year’s ten-race calendar.
As speculation over just which tracks would be graced by the DTM next year was starting to turn into reality, China was one of the countries that the ITR was earmarking in terms of expanding the following of the DTM. Up until now, no secure location had been decided upon before today’s official announcement between DTM’s rights holder, ITR e.V and the Chinese Brillant Culture Group.
With a specifically-built 4.1 kilometre track that is still subject to final approval before its debut, it will see BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz running through the streets of the Southern Chinese metropolis, which could also bring in welcome viewers of the series from neighbouring districts.
ITR e.V Chairman, Hans Werner Aufrecht, was delighted to have made steps towards provisions of a new event in China, as well as the circuit being right for the series itself, through the help of the Chinese partners, but said there is still work to be done: “To date, we have contested two DTM races, in China, and we have an obligation. In our previous races in China, we didn’t deliver on the top level and therefore, it’s about time for us to provide top motor racing in China, too. I’m convinced that we will be able to do so and thrill the Chinese motor-racing enthusiasts.”
It will be exactly 10 years from when China got its first taste of the DTM, as Shanghai has hosted the last two races on its city streets, with Mercedes-Benz’s Gary Paffett wining both outings. The final race there was also where 2010 Champion and current Sahara Force India driver Paul di Resta secured the title, behind his British team-mate.
DTM’s most succesful champion and current AMG brand ambassador, Bernd Schneider, was also backing the event having already taken a look at the layout for what the drivers will face next year: “It looks impressive with a combination of fast parts and slow corners and should be challenging for the drivers when they race there in 2014. From my experience racing in China has always been very special. I think Guangzhou is the right place for the DTM to return to China.”
Head of Mercedes’ DTM Management, Wolfgang Schattling, emphasised the importance of the growing automotive market in China, which also has significance to the Stuttgart brand itself, as it is the biggest market for the brand’s S-Class. However, this could be further bolstered with the the fact that there could be a hat-trick on the cards for Mercedes regarding wins in China: “With our DTM involvement in Guangzhou, we aim to play our part in ensuring that the race in one of the largest metropolises in southern China becomes a regular fixture on the DTM calendar and an annual highlight for Chinese motorsport fans. “
Maggie Ip, the Chairman of Brilliant Culture Group Co. Ltd, said that it was good to see that the DTM was returning to China in 2014: “We wanted to race in Guangdong province because the people there have a good understanding of, and have developed an unrivalled passion for motorsports. Guangdong is also close to Hong Kong, and motorsports fans there will come to Guangzhou to experience DTM.”
So as the DTM starts to look for international territories beyond Europe, it can only mean that with mutual partners, the series will continue to flourish and expand as the action continues. We’ve a long wait until the season gets underway next year…