American sportscar ace Dion von Moltke was one of two drivers from across the Atlantic that recently took part in the end of season DTM Young Drivers’ Test at Jerez de la Frontera at the end of November, as fellow IMSA alumni John Edwards was selected to drive for BMW.
The 26-year-old joined fellow sportscar driver Kelvin van der Linde and McLaren junior, Holland’s Nyck de Vries at the Spanish circuit, with both Mattias Ekström and Jamie Green giving valuable pointers to the trio.
Von Moltke, who became an Audi Sportscar Brand Ambassador in January 2016, has won both the Daytona 24 Hours and Sebring 12 Hours in his racing career, along with securing the Pirelli World Challenge Sprint-X Championship this year with M1GT Racing.
“I went into the test knowing that DTM cars were fast and amazing machines, but I was still blown away by the level of downforce they do truly have,” said the Miami-based driver to TouringCars.net, shortly after taking a win with Flying Lizard Motorsport in the Thunderhill 25 Hours.
Von Moltke admitted that he was able to speak to 2016 runner-up, Edoardo Mortara, who joined Mercedes-AMG DTM for the forthcoming season. The duo had taken the GTD class win at Daytona in 2013, alongside ex-DTM and LMP1 drivers, Filipe Albuquerque and Oliver Jarvis.
“Audi Sport has a very impressive program for all of their young drivers, and having Mattias Ekstrom, Jamie and Emanuele Pirro there working with us I had all the resources I could ever dream of,” explained von Moltke, who found out quickly that a full level of commitment and an open mind to driving the RS5 was required.
“Jamie worked very closely with me and he was so open and helpful, which really helped me try to adapt to this amazing car quickly!
“The two cars are actually pretty violently different, which you can’t tell until you really start driving. With that level of downforce, you can really attack corner entries and with the rear being so stuck to the ground trail braking is extremely important. In the R8 LMS, the rear is much easier to upset on corner entry so how you go about driving is very different.”
With a bigger emphasis on less assistance, he felt that the lack of it would be the biggest obstacle. However, it was about taking an approach of not using his sportscar racing experience to fully exploit the limit of a DTM race car.
“I wasn’t really expecting to get the opportunity, but once they reached out I was elated,” stated von Moltke, as the only American driver that had raced in the DTM was Joey Hand, who raced with BMW for three seasons until the end of 2014.
“It is one I learned a lot from, and experience I will never forget. I enjoyed driving this car so much, I definitely hope it’s not the last time I get to drive a DTM car.”
He has also admitted that he would interested in racing in the DTM full-time, if the opportunity arose, but is continuing to work hard towards a 2017 campaign in North America.
“To be honest things for new drivers are quite difficult in DTM right now with the manufactures dropping down to 6 cars from 8. Some of the best drivers in the world are racing there, so obviously as a driver, I would absolutely love to compete against them.
“I would never rule out that possibility, as I didn’t even expect to get the DTM test this year, but I would say it is a long shot.
“2016 was a tough year, winning the Pirelli World Challenge SprintX championship and being apart of winning two more championships for Audi in the WeatherTech Sportscar Championship.
“I really hope I have the opportunity to build off those championships and battle for some more in 2017, wherever that may be.”