With the new Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters season set to get underway on May 5th at Hockenheim, the weekend format and certain sporting regulations have been amended to further spice up the action over the 18-race calendar.
The amount of track time that each of the 18 drivers from the three brands will increase for 2017 to a total of four hours, as both races on the Saturday and Sunday of each race weekend will now be 55 minutes in duration, plus an additional lap.
“The new race format encourages creative strategies and highly-perfectioned sport from both teams and drivers,” explained ITR board member Florian Zitzlsperger.
“For the spectators, the DTM intends to offer an increased number of spectacular races and entertainment on both days of the race weekend.”
This will also aid the teams and drivers in getting up to speed on the new technical regulations, and promote even closer racing than we have seen in recent times.
Each race will require all drivers to make a mandatory pit stop, but the crews will be put under further pressure to make the strategies count. This is due to a newly-enforced restriction of one crew member per side being allowed to change tyres, which will mean longer pit stops taking place.
The pit stop window will also allow the strategies to be far and wide, as the drivers and teams can opt to pit from lap two or the penultimate lap of the race.
The emphasis on driver input will be further amplified from the Hockenheim season opener in May, as tyre warmers have now been outlawed.
The drivers will now be responsible for ensuring tyre temperatures are at their optimum when the start phase of each race is carried out, as well as being allowed just eight sets of Hankook slick tyres per weekend.
“The pit stop with tyre change in both races combined with the new Hankook tyres and the ban of the tyre warmers will make for clearly more tactical options and hopefully more overtaking manoeuvres and action for our fans,” admitted reigning and defending champion, Marco Wittmann, who will have to deal with 17 other high-quality drivers over the course of the season.