Back in May this year, a reinvigorated Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters season hit the track at the Baden-Württemberg circuit, and showed that it can provide all the thrills and dramas that the fans, drivers and teams expect.
With 11 different winners, five different champions, two new rookies and one well-known returnee heading into the season finale at the Hockenheimring this weekend, the DTM has shown it can adapt and impress, all at the same time.
Three titles are up for grabs, with the eventual winner of the drivers’ title to be awarded the brand-new “DTM Trophy,” following on from a competition held by rights holders ITR e.V.
Mattias Ekström leads the way with a 21-point advantage over fellow Ingolstadt stablemate René Rast, along with Jamie Green and 2013 Champion Mike Rockenfeller being in contention.
Rockenfeller has been one of the resurgant drivers this year, and has even comeback from what could have been a season-ending accident at the Norisring, when the Team Phoenix’s RS5 DTM was hit by the C63 AMG Coupé of Gary Paffett at high speed.
Green took two wins in the early part of the season, both at Hockenheim and Lausitz, putting him in contention straight away. But the Briton has kept himself in the mix, thanks to some very consistent finishing in the top ten for the majority of the year.
Defending champion Marco Wittmann is also in with a chance to take a third title, with both he and Ekström having an opportunity to become the third driver to achieve such an effort. In the record books, it has only been Klaus Ludwig and Bernd Schneider thus far.
Lucas Auer is still three points adrift from both Rockenfeller and Wittmann, and is looking to “try to get 100% out of my available package” this weekend.
The 23-year-old has really come of age this season, having gone through his fair share of ups and downs since he joined in 2015. The Austrian has shown that he can still be factored into this title race with just two to go.
With Mercedes having announced earlier this season that they will be leaving the DTM at the end of 2018, a demonstration run from two of the series’ racing car cousins will be at Hockenheim, showcasing a Japanese flavour to proceedings.
Super GT will be bringing the Nissan GT-R GT500 and Lexus LF500, which will take to the 4.574-km track with both Italy’s Ronnie Quintarelli and ex-F1 ace Heikki Kovalainen getting behind the wheel of the respective vehicles.
Two other titles are to be decided, with Audi storming ahead of both Mercedes and BMW after 16 races for the constructors’ title, as Audi Sport Team Rosberg lead the way to see which of the nine assigned teams take the crown this weekend.
After a dynamic shift in regulations, fan interaction, and an even closer field than in recent times, the DTM can be proud of returning back to what it does best – racing.
DTM Season Finale Timetable (All times CEST)
Friday 13th October
1615 – Free Practice 1 (30 minutes)
Saturday 14th October
0955 – Free Practice 2 (30 minutes)
1145 –Race 1 Qualifying (20 minutes)
1448 – Race 1 (55 minutes plus one lap)
Sunday 15th October
0900 – Free Practice 3 (30 minutes)
1200 – Race 2 Qualifying (20 minutes)
1513 – Race 2 (55 minutes plus one lap)