Official logo of the DTM
|Tyre suppliers||Hankook (2011–present)|
|Drivers' champion||Marco Wittmann|
|Teams' champion||HWA AG|
From 2000 onwards, this new DTM continued the former Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft (German Touring Car Championship) and ITC (International Touring Car Championship) which had been discontinued after 1996 due to high costs.
During the ITC era a large proportion of the revenue generated by the championship went to the FIA, with the result that less went to the teams who subsequently complained of little return on their increasingly large investment in the high-tech series. Since 1997 many ideas have been discussed in order to find a compromise for rules of a new DTM. Opel put the primary emphasis on cost control, Mercedes-Benz supported expensive competitiveness in development, BMW wanted an international series rather than one focused on Germany only, while Audi insisted on allowing their trademark quattro four-wheel drive (despite running the rear wheel drive Audi R8) in sports car racing.
The DTM returned in 2000 as Mercedes and Opel had agreed to use cars that were based on the concept car that was shown by Opel on various occasions, e.g. the 1999 24 Hours Nürburgring where Opel celebrated its 100th anniversary. The series adopted the format of the 1995 championship, with most rounds held in Germany with occasional rounds throughout Europe, but having learnt the lessons of the ITC disaster, the ITR constantly strived to keep costs in the series from exploding to unreasonable levels, and to keep the championship firmly tied to its German roots. As too many races were planned outside Germany, no Championship (Meisterschaft) status was granted by the DMSB, and the DTM initials now stand for Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (German Touring Car Masters).
Alfa Romeo, who at the time were mounting successful campaigns in the European Touring Car Championship, did not return to the series. BMW was also involved in the ETCC and was not satisfied with a championship only for Germany. Audi did not enter as they insisted on using their signature quattro 4WD.
Unlike the previous incarnation which primarily used sedan models like the Mercedes-Benz W201, the new DTM featured only 2-door coupés. Opel used the upcoming Coupé version of the Astra as in the concept car, and Mercedes the CLK model which already was used as a pattern for the Mercedes-Benz CLK-GTR.
Attempts of Zakspeed to enter with a car looking like a Volvo C70 were not approved, but the motorsport arm of the Bavarian tuning company Abt Sportsline was allowed to enter on short notice. The 1999 STW-Supertouring-champion Christian Abt could not defend his STW title as this series was also discontinued, with Opel moving into DTM. Abt used the Audi TT as a basis, as Audi had no suitable 2-door coupé, even though the dimensions of this car did not fit into the rules.
In May 2000, the new DTM started with the traditional Hockenheimring short track version. Some cars still had no or few sponsorship decals. While Opel could match the speed of most Mercedes in the 2000 season, the hastily developed Abt-Audis were mainly outclassed. As the TT shape had rather poor aerodynamic properties, Abt was allowed to use a stretched form later. Further benefits like a higher rear wing helped the Abt-Audi TT-R win the DTM championship in 2002 with Laurent Aïello.
In 2000, Manuel Reuter came second in the championship. After that year, no Opel driver was among the top three, with few podium finishes and no victory for the disappointing "lightnings". On the other hand, it was Opel team boss Volker Strycek who brought a new highlight to the fans, by racing a modified DTM car on the traditional old version of the Nürburgring in 2002, 20 years after the top classes had moved to the modern Grand Prix track, and 10 years after the old DTM stopped racing there. The Opels did not win in most of their entries in the VLN endurance races as they were mainly testing, but the speed was impressive, and the fans loved it. They won however the 2003 Nürburgring 24 Hours against factory efforts by Audi (Who also ran a DTM-spec TT) and BMW (Who ran an ALMS-spec M3).
After their successes with the Audi R8 and the official support of the Abt-TTRs at the Nürburgring, Audi finally joined the DTM as a factory entry in 2004. The three constructors involved decided to switch to saloon bodies. The road models used as patterns since 2004 are the Audi A4, Opel Vectra GTS and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. All dimensions, like wheelbase, are identical in order to provide equal opportunities without the actual design of the road cars having any influence.
The championship suffered a setback in 2004 when long-time also-ran Opel decided to pull out of the series at the end of the 2005 season, as part of a large cost-cutting operation in General Motors' European division. Initially the gap looked set to be filled by MG Rover, however their plans to enter the series were cancelled after the company collapsed in April 2005. Audi and Mercedes fielded 10 cars each in 2006, but the important television deal with the major television station ARD required three marques in 2007. Rumours surfaced that Alfa Romeo would return to the DTM in 2007. These rumors were helped by Alfa Romeo Sport boss Claudio Berro being seen in the Barcelona paddock. It was also thought that Alfa's possible return could be the reason why the 2007 DTM calendar started one month later than normal, to give Alfa Romeo extra time to make a DTM car. However, this did not happen.
The DTM carried on with only two manufacturers. There were some rumours regarding entries by various manufacturers (e.g. Citroen, Lancia, Renault or Jaguar), but they never materialized. The years 2008 and 2009 were marked by the dominance of Audi. Timo Scheider took the driver's championship in these years, giving Mercedes the runner-up position (Paul di Resta in 2008 and Gary Paffett in 2009). As of 2010, Mercedes have finally bridged the gap to Audi, as Paul di Resta has won the 2010 championship driving for AMG Mercedes.
In March 2010, GT Association (the governing body in Super GT series in Japan) reported the ITR are starting to unite the mechanical regulation with Japan's GT500 (Super GT's upper class), and NASCAR's Grand American Road Racing Association Grand Touring division to form a new Grand Touring specification. In October 2012 a cooperation deal between DTM and Super GT was signed in Tokyo. The agreement regarding the use of the 'New DTM' regulations by Japan's Super GT begins in 2014 and runs – for the time being – for four years. DTM is set to ditch V8 engines in favour of two-litre turbos by 2016 at the latest, which Super GT had implemented in 2014.
On 27 March 2013, the ITR and NASCAR Holdings' road racing division, United SportsCar Racing, announced after years of planning, a North American DTM is scheduled to start between 2015 and 2016 based on the 2014 DTM regulations.
When the series returned, it used a similar format to 1996: two races of 100 kilometres, with a short break between them. In 2001 and 2002 there was a short race of 35 kilometres as well as a long race of 100 kilometres, which included one pit stop and gave points for the top 10 as in earlier seasons. From 2003 to 2014 there was only one race, which had a distance of about 170 kilometres, and two mandatory pit stops.
For the 2015 season a new race format was introduced. Race weekend consisted of 40-minute (Saturday) and 60-minute (Sunday) races. On Saturday's race a pit stop was optional, while on Sunday's race a pit stop was mandatory and all the four tyres had to be changed. Both races had the same scoring system.
From the 2017 season, both races of a weekend will feature the same distance – 55 minutes plus a complete lap, with one of them being held on Saturday, the other on Sunday. In both races, the drivers have to pit at least once for a set of fresh tires.
The DTM is a touring car. The championship controls and specifies the chassis and engine manufacturers that teams are allowed to use each season. The league's choice of manufacturers are changed every three years. Currently Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz provides the cars to all teams, with Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz providing the engines. Opel was provided car and engines in 2000-2005 but left at the end of the 2005 season.
The cars are supposed to be fast and spectacular, while still fairly cheap to build and run. All DTM race cars have RWD and 4.0 L V8 engines which are air-restricted to 460 hp but now into over 500 hp since 2017 season, no matter if similar layouts or engines are available in the road cars. Instead of the road car bodies, unrelated purpose-built chassis are used, which are closer to prototype racing. Many drivers have in fact described the handling of the cars as closer to single seater racing cars than road cars. Only the roof sections of the road cars are put on top of the roll cages, and lights and other distinctive design features are used in order to provide a resemblance to the road cars. Also, in order to save money and provide close racing, many common parts from third party specialist are used, like transmission (from Hewland), brakes (from AP Racing), and Hankook tyres since 2011 and on (previously Dunlop was a DTM tyre supplier in 2000 until 2010 season). The all-important aerodynamic configurations are tested in wind tunnels before the season, brought to an equal level, and kept that way throughout the season.
DTM cars adhere to a front engine rear-wheel-drive design. A roll cage serves as a space frame chassis, covered by a CFRP crash elements on the side, front and rear and covered by metallic bodywork. They have a closed cockpit, a bi-plane rear wing, and an other aerodynamic parts such as front splitter, side winglets and hood holes. DTM cars have included a Drag Reduction Systems since the 2013 season (similar to Formula One) for overtaking reasons.
For the transmission gearboxes, all DTM cars currently uses semi-automatic transmission with 6-speed gearbox operated by paddle shifters since 2012 season. From 2000-2011, all DTM cars were used sequential manual transmission with 6-speed gearbox operated by gear lever. The clutch of all DTM cars are CFRP 4-plate clutch operated by foot-pedal. Mechanical limited-slip differential are also allowed and constant velocity joint tripod driveshafts are also used.
For the safety equipment, all DTM cars seating uses removable carbon-fibre shell driver's seat with 6-point seat belts. The steering wheel of all DTM cars are free design per one manufacturer. All DTM cars are also equipped with Bosch Motorsport DDU 8 data display units since 2012 season.
The cars are powered by indirect fuel injection V8 engines, with aluminium alloy blocks, and a 2xDOHC valvetrain actuating four-valves per cylinder, and limited to 4,000 cc (244 cu in) displacement since the series's rebirth in 2000. DTM car's engines are currently producing over 500 hp (373 kW; 507 PS) power output at 8500 rpm. Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz are currently providing DTM engines with the manufacturers respectively.
DTM engines are rev-limited to 9,000 rpm. The valve train is a dual overhead camshaft configuration with four valves per cylinder. The crankshaft is made of alloy steel, with five main bearing caps. The pistons are forged aluminum alloy, while the connecting rods are machined alloy steel. The firing ignition is a CDI ignition system. The engine lubrication is a dry sump type, cooled by a single water pump.
The current 4.0 L (244 cu in) V8 engine normally-aspirated 90-degree configuration will be used as a required engine configuration until at least 2018 season. All DTM cars will switch to all-new 2.0 L (122 cu in) inline-4 cylinder turbocharged direct-injection engine from 2019 season while the current coupé-style cars will remain in 2019 beyond.
All DTM engines carry a Bosch-provided electronic control unit, but traction control and anti-lock brakes are prohibited. Live telemetry is used only for television broadcasts, but the data can be recorded from the ECU to the computer if the car is in the garage and not on the track.
At its inception, the all DTM cars currently uses ordinary unleaded racing fuel, which had been the de facto standard in German touring car racing since the reborn of DTM in 2000. Since the 2010 season, the fuel of all DTM cars is currently Aral Ultimate 102 RON unleaded racing gasoline. In 2005-2010, the Aral Ultimate 100 RON unleaded fuel was used for all DTM cars. From 2000 to 2003, Agip was providing an unleaded fuel for all DTM cars. From 2004, all DTM cars were fueled by Shell until mid-2005, when they switched to Aral Ultimate 100 RON unleaded racing gasoline.
The drivers have been a mixture of young and older drivers, including well known former Formula One drivers David Coulthard, Bernd Schneider, Allan McNish, Jean Alesi, Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Ralf Schumacher, JJ Lehto, Pedro Lamy, Karl Wendlinger, Emanuele Pirro, Stefano Modena and two-time F1 world champion Mika Häkkinen. Others, such as Laurent Aïello, Tom Kristensen, Dindo Capello, Frank Biela, Marco Werner, Lucas Luhr, Alexandre Prémat, Yves Olivier, Jaroslav Janiš, and Alain Menu have made their career racing in sports cars and touring cars.
Increasingly, the DTM is being used by young guns such as Robert Wickens and Gary Paffett to jump-start their racing career in single-seaters. Wickens was in the 2012 Mercedes young driver program and in his first year of DTM. This strategy appears to have worked well for Christijan Albers, who built a reputation by finishing second and third in the 2003 and 2004 championships with Mercedes-Benz and then graduated to Formula One in 2005. He came back in 2008, but this time driving for Audi. After winning the championship in 2010, Paul di Resta raced from 2011 until 2013 for Mercedes-engined Formula One team Force India. He has now returned to the Mercedes DTM team. Pascal Wehrlein, who has won the championship in a Mercedes car in 2015 is now racing for Sauber F1 Team and as a testing driver for the Mercedes works team.
Gary Paffett has also used his championship win to gain a test with McLaren, and they signed him as permanent test driver for 2006. This prevented Paffett from defending his title in 2006, however he thought that it will be a springboard for a race seat during the 2007 Formula One season. The plan failed however, and Paffett returned to DTM in 2007, but in a 2006 specification car.
Four female drivers have taken part in the championship. In 2006 Vanina Ickx started racing for Audi and Susie Wolff for Mercedes. In 2008 Ickx was replaced by Katherine Legge, who was subsequently replaced for the 2011 season by Rahel Frey. In 2013 there were no female drivers in DTM.
|Points for short race|
|Points for long race|
|Points for short race|
|Points for long race|
|Points for both races|
|Season||Champion||Team||Champion's Car||Constructor Champion|
|See Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft|
|2000||Bernd Schneider||HWA Team||Mercedes-Benz||Mercedes-Benz|
|2001||Bernd Schneider (2)||HWA Team||Mercedes-Benz||Mercedes-Benz|
|2002||Laurent Aïello||ABT Sportsline||Audi||Mercedes-Benz|
|2003||Bernd Schneider (3)||HWA Team||Mercedes-Benz||Mercedes-Benz|
|2004||Mattias Ekström||ABT Sportsline||Audi||Audi|
|2005||Gary Paffett||HWA Team||Mercedes-Benz||Mercedes-Benz|
|2006||Bernd Schneider (4)||HWA Team||Mercedes-Benz||Mercedes-Benz|
|2007||Mattias Ekström (2)||ABT Sportsline||Audi||Audi|
|2008||Timo Scheider||ABT Sportsline||Audi||Mercedes-Benz|
|2009||Timo Scheider (2)||ABT Sportsline (5)||Audi||Mercedes-Benz|
|2010||Paul di Resta||HWA Team||Mercedes-Benz||Mercedes-Benz (9)|
|2011||Martin Tomczyk||Phoenix Racing||Audi||Audi|
|2012||Bruno Spengler||Schnitzer Motorsport||BMW||BMW|
|2013||Mike Rockenfeller||Phoenix Racing (2)||Audi (7)||BMW|
|2014||Marco Wittmann||Team RMG||BMW||Audi|
|2015||Pascal Wehrlein||HWA Team (7)||Mercedes-Benz (7)||BMW (3)|
|2016||Marco Wittmann (2)||Team RMG (2)||BMW (3)||Audi (5)|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to DTM.|