The DTM Series has made a number of changes heading into the 2018 season.
Regulations were enhanced to influence better racing due to lower downforce. The reduction of aerodynamic components mounted on the outer skins and the dropping of mechanical below the body work move the driving skills of the drivers further to the forefront.
At the front the cars will be equipped on every side with a so-called “aero flick”, this component is similar to its predecessor. The front spoiler has also been adapted by the engineers.
The side duct has been simplified and the end plate in the are below the doors has been removed. Add on parts have also been reduced.
Basics of the rear have been maintain, however. Due to these measures the downforce of the vehicles has been reduced by about a third. The lower drag could result – circuit dependant – in higher top speeds.
Under the body only linear coil springs will be used. The test at Vallelunga will be used to find out whether this change combined with the others will make the cars aerodynamically less stable in corners.
“I’m excited to take to the track in the 2018 version of the BMW M4 DTM,” said BMW DTM driver Bruno Spengler. “The less downforce a racing car has, the more challenging it is to drive it at the limit. It will be exciting for the engineers to find the perfect set-up. The mechanical grip of the car will be more important than ever.”
The total minimum weight – made up of the driver, their gear and vehicle – has been reduced. The overall minimum amounts to 111kg this year with the weight of the vehicle alone being 1031kg.
At pitstops teams also have the possibility to increase their crews by one member.
The amount of engines each driver can use without suffering a penalty has also risen.
“The engines used in DTM have been designed for maximum mileage and we want to prevent that the engines exceed this run-time. ITR increased the race calendar from nine to ten race meetings for the coming season, with the Brands-Hatch weekend being a two-day event with no Friday practice session. This means that we are talking about 450 to 500 kilometres more than in the past. To respond to this situation we opted for the most favourable solution. Instead of seven the manufacturers now have eight engines for their six cars that may be changed without penalty,” said Michael Bernard, Head of DTM’s Technical Department.
Several of the adaptions introduced during the course of 2017 have been made an inherent part of the regulations, such as the Indy style safety car restart, the limitation of the communication via the pit boards as well as the increase of the remaining minimum quantity of fuel.
Following the experiences of the restart format at Hockenheim last year it has been decided the leader is the one to dictate the speed – as soon as they accelerate the green flag is waved and the red lights are switched off. Accelerating is only permitted in the defined section between the first white line and the finish line – no car is allowed to step out of formation before having crossed the finish line.
The pit board may only be used for the request to pit or in the case of a potential emergency situation. Teams may give their drivers hints only with single letters, figures of symbols deposited at DMSB. With this, the tactical measures of the teams are supposed to be even more limited.
Following each qualifying and race session the cars must have a minimum of one kilogram of fuel in the tanks. Should a car not be able to return to parc fermé under its own steam it has to have at least two kilogram of fuel in its tank. The increase is supposed to bring an end to the teams gambling with the fuel and to drivers stopping cars right behind the finish line.
The first pre-season test is currently underway at Vallelunga (1-3 March). The final pre-season test takes place at Hockenheim 9-12 April with all 18 drivers getting behind the wheel before the season kicks off three weeks later at the same circuit.