Despite there being several unofficial testing sessions in preparation for this year’s new-look DTM season, the first official pre-season tests are due to take place at Hockenheim on Wednesday 7th April and Thursday 8th April 2021.
Many DTM fans are looking forward to the new format which now allows a wider variety of car to enter, all of GT3 class including, for the first time ever in DTM, Ferrari. This is the 35th season of the sport and we are expecting a wide range of drivers from ex-Formula 1 drivers, Le Mans drivers, DTM champions and even rookies all competing at the same level. Alex Albon, Timo Glock and Christian Klien all bring F1 experience; Kelvin and Sheldon van der Linde will be battling each other in different cars, and of course the news that Nico Müller will be back with Team Rosberg with his sights firmly on the prize after finishing as runner up in the 2020 season.
AF Course’s Red Bull team will be entering the DTM for the first time this season with two Ferrari 488 GT3s piloted by F1 driver Alex Albon and Liam Lawson who at only 19 years old, has just won his debut F2 race at Bahrain. Both of these Red Bull racers are undertaking their first full season in anything else than a single-seater which could prove interesting as they adjust their spatial awareness to sitting on the left side of a car rather than in the middle.
The drivers are getting excited about a full season after the shortened season of 2020. “The first test is always cool. I can hardly await the first kilometres with the BMW M6 GT3,” said five-time DTM race winner Timo Glock. It’s not just the drivers who are anxious to get started but also the team principals. “We can hardly wait until we can take on our future opponents for the first time,” ROWE Racing’s team principal Hans-Peter Naundorf says. His team is taking on the DTM as a new challenge but has a lot of GT3 experience. HRT team owner Hubert Haupt is also full of anticipation “Exactly 30 years ago, I got my baptism of fire as a racing driver in DTM. After the series’ rebirth, I was on the grid again in 2001. Now, in 2021, a new era is starting and I have the honour of being a part of it with my own team.”
Motorsport is of course one of very few sports in which men and women compete against each other. 20-year-old Sophia Flörsch is one who is looking forward to the challenge this season, driving an Audi R8 LMS with the ABT Sportsline team.
The biggest change this season is the variety of cars that can enter, be it front or mid-engine, eight or ten cylinders, turbocharged or atmospheric engine, now, DTM has plenty to offer for all race fans. Despite the changes, DTM remains loyal to its proven core, its DNA: one driver in each race car as well as a timed pit stop.
With testing due to start on Wednesday, the DTM organiser ITR is still awaiting news on more drivers joining the grid. “We are delighted with the quality we are having on the grid. In the 2021 DTM, we have undisputed top teams and the cars will be raced by excellent drivers. From rookies via F1 drivers to multiple DTM winners – a really strong field of drivers is on the cards,” says Frederic Elsner, Director of event & operations, ITR.
The first test sessions of the DTM and the junior race series DTM Trophy will run on both days from 9 am till 1 pm and from 2 pm till 6 pm. The second official DTM test will be held at DEKRA Lausitzring from 4 – 6 May. Then all eyes will be focused on Monza in Italy for the season opener over the weekend of 18 – 20 June.