The signing of a new agreement in Tokyo today has assisted the future of the DTM, Super GT and the forthcoming DTM-derived IMSA touring car series.
All six current manufacturers that participate in both Super GT and DTM, along with DTM rights holder ITR e.V and Super GT organisers, the GTA, agreed upon the next step of their co-operation within the “Steering Committee,” which started back in 2012.
IMSA, whose championship has not yet been named, also stated that they will be looking to adopting the new set of rules, which will be in place as of 2017.
The new “Class One” technical regulations shows a significant shift in many areas, as the new cars will all be turbocharged, with 600bhp being produced from a two-litre, four-cylinder engine. The look of the cars will still remain heavily similar to their silhouette nature at present.
Along with this significant change in terms of engine applications, which are becoming more commonplace in the racing and automotive industry, testing will be limited, tyre specification requirements and DRS usage were just some of the topics that were discussed.
The new set of rules opens up the doors to any of the manufacturers, who will be able to compete in either of the three championships, with only minor changes being required.
The main emphasis is to have cars that appeal to the eyes, which also have the paramount high levels of safety. But in terms of providing an equal platform, operational and developmental levels will also be cutback to ensure more cost effectiveness for the teams and manufacturers.
ITR e.V’s Chairman, Hans Werner Aufrecht, said that the move forwards towards unity between the three organizations was an “important milestone,” which will give manufacturers complete flexibility in terms of where and when they want to race.
“This possibility provides totally new marketing opportunities for the manufacturers. And the joint name “Class One,” is an important component, so to speak, the cramp holding it all together,” explained Aufrecht. “I’m delighted that we are going to demonstrate our common ground in Europe, Japan and the USA with this distinctive name.
“All these moves will help us in achieving a variety of brands never witnessed before at the highest technical level, so we will provide the crowds even more fascinating motor sport. Isn’t it a fantastic perspective that spectacular racing cars, such as the DTM vehicles, can be run all over the world at reasonable costs in the future?”
Is “Class One” a viable proposition for a sound future?
The new step forward that is being taken by the “Steering Committee” was not really surprising, as the fact that turbocharged engines would be used in the DTM was a topic that I briefly discussed with BMW Motorsport Jens Marquardt back at Brands Hatch last May.
He explained to me that it would be a natural progression, which is line with the ongoing work that BMW M does on its road cars, such as the M3 and M4 that were released earlier on this year.
A lot of the main racing series that fans follow, such as Formula One, Indycar, the BTCC and WTCC, currently use turbocharging to help increase the power, but in turn, help to make cars efficient in terms of both fuel consumption and emissions.
A statistic that is becoming ever more present in the racing world that we will have to get used to, but will the exhaust orchestra that the DTM is known for be somewhat neutered when 2017 comes around? Who knows, but it is again a case of wait and see.
The engines that are currently used by the Super GT GT500 Class do run in line with the new “Class One” regulations, as well as Hybrid power even being used by Honda’s NSX Concept at the moment, so the Asian counterparts have the jump on the rest, in terms of development and reliability.
But the big question is that will we see BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi fight tooth and nail in Super GT, and vice versa in DTM with Nissan, Lexus and Honda? There was talk of an exhibition race, but with the new regulations becoming more unilateral, this could be more of a possibility.
The Far East is fast becoming a core market for all three German brands, and as Herr Aufrecht pointed out that it will help in terms of exposure for all committed to the “Steering Committee.”
However, we still anxiously await just which brands will be involved in the new IMSA series, which is another piece of the puzzle that has yet to be revealed in full. The full extent of how these new regulations will be revealed in due course, but it is a significant step in the right direction.