With the 2020 DTM season opening at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium over the weekend of 1/2 August and lasting just over three months, it brings a whole new level of challenges for the logistics teams. Just like every other race series, DTM has been forced into a condensed and more frantic race season due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Since the end of the official DTM tests, BMW Team RMG has been busy assembling its three BMW M4 DTMs at it’s headquarters in Andernach, Germany. The team’s drivers, Marco Wittmann, Timo Glock and Lucas Auer all have their hearts and minds set firmly on victory at the nine race weekends whilst the crews reassemble the cars from scratch to ensure that every single part is in full working order.
BMW Team RMG boss Stefan Reinhold explains what will be key and how his team is preparing for the extraordinary 2020 DTM season. “With the new calendar, the races sometimes come in such quick succession that you must already be looking to keep the work between races to the bare minimum.”
The season would normally run from April to October but the 2020 season will last just fifteen weeks meaning preparation is key, including daily pit stop training in the workshop halls. It is going to be a very intense season with the peak of this activity being the six races on three consecutive weekends in September.
It’s not just the pit crews that have to prepare for this mammoth task but the logistics teams are going to be hit the hardest. The effort involved in setting up and dismantling equipment, in particular, should not be underestimated. BMW Team RMG takes four trucks holding a total of 30 tons of equipment to each race.
That includes the three BMW M4 DTMs, as well as a host of spare parts, tools, wheels, superstructures for the pit wall, and workplaces for the engineers. It takes roughly two days to load all the trucks for a race weekend, travel to the circuit and unload the trucks there. Setting up the garages then takes another six to eight hours.
DTM has worked with the manufacturers to select the racetracks for the season that are relatively close to each other. “Short distances to the racetrack are essential. If we also had to cope with long journeys, then this race calendar would be impossible from a logistics point of view,” said Reinhold.
“To Monza, the trucks would be on the road for about two days. To Spa, Zolder or the Nürburgring, it is no more than half a day’s journey. That makes a big difference to us, as travel time for material and personnel is always lost time that could be spent working on the car.”
Just as some other race series have done for 2020, three of the tracks will host back to back race weekends; the Lausitzring in Germany, the Nürburgring in Germany and Zolder in Belgium. “Races at the same circuit will obviously help us greatly, as we can stay on-site and continue to work on the cars. That way, we are able to save the time taken to set up and take down our equipment, and the transfer,” said Reinhold
During the week between these double weekends, the teams have been given permission to stay at the circuit to perform the obligatory revisions that take place after each race weekend including dismantling the BMW M4 DTM to check all the parts for wear and possible damage.
Normally the teams would have at least one weekend between races to check and repair the cars but Reinhold feels confident they can cope with the reduced work periods as long as there are no major issues. “Avoiding any major damage will be particularly important this season, as time can become tight if you have to replace mechanical parts or many chassis parts.”
The 2020 season is going to be an intense time for BMW Team RMG and all the other DTM teams. However, Reinhold is in a confident mood.
“The compact season is obviously going to be strenuous for the whole team. However, the current situation gives us no choice,” said Reinhold. “Despite the extraordinary circumstances, we are well prepared. The main thing is that we are able to go racing at all, as that’s ultimately why we are involved in motorsport.”