Norisring Preview: Heading back to hallowed city streets

Norisring Preview: Heading back to hallowed city streets

Photo: DTM Media
Photo: DTM Media

The yearly tradition of hitting the streets near the Dutzendteich are a welcome change for the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters every year, as the fast-paced series will roar around the 2.3-km circuit once again this coming weekend.

BMW’s Timo Glock still leads the standings following another dramatic race weekend at Budapest, with the Norising set to host the fourth weekend of the 2018 season.

Even with the three pit lane incidents that occurred during a sudden downpour at the Hungaroring three weeks ago, the focus turns to a track that requires pinpoint accuracy, in terms of the set-up, as well as horsepower.

Last year saw BMW Motorsport take hit the top step with both Bruno Spengler and Maxime Martin, which saw another set of chances go for Mercedes-AMG DTM, who have not won at the Nuremberg-based circuit for the last two years.

It’s also been a busy time for the Munich brand, who just last weekend took part in the 86th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with Phillip Eng and Augusto Farfus swapping their M4 DTMs for the brand new M8 GTE.

“It is not just the fact that this is our Bavarian home race that makes this event something special. The Norisring is a unique circuit and the atmosphere there is just sensational,” explained Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt, who is hopeful of a repeat of last year’s success.

“However, the season so far has shown that anything is possible in this competitive field. There will be large numbers of fans at the Norisring and they can look forward to some thrilling racing. We hope that some semblance of normality will return to the DTM, following the serious incidents in the pit lane at the Hungaroring.”

Glock, who leads the drivers’ standings by 11 points from Britain’s Gary Paffett, is very aware that Mercedes has shown its speed to great effect in past years, and is optimistic of his chances to stay in front.

“I hope that we can be fast again this year,” admitted the 36-year-old, who has shown great consistency so far.

“Of course, we also know that Mercedes is very strong in terms of the top speed, so it will be interesting to see how we set up to combat that. Audi has put on strong performances at the Norisring too, but Mercedes is the clear favourite for me. We have to make sure that we are sorted out as well as possible.”

Paffett himself is looking away from what happened in Budapest, as a ‘disappointing’ weekend in general, but feels that it could be even more fascinating between all three brands at Norisring.

“I feel we have every reason to be positive about the weekend, as it’s a track that doesn’t suit anyone in particular,” said the Briton, who has taken wins at both Hockenheim and Lausitzring.

“Of course, it would be great to win there again. But quite honestly, I think everyone will have the same chance of winning, so we have to try and score as many points as possible. All the same, I will obviously be going all out to get back on the podium and – in the best case scenario – to win.”

With speeds set to hit 265 km/h at the end of the main straight, heading into the first corner, brakes will also have a stern test, with added water cooling set to cool them efficiently enough to cope with the heft braking zones.

The additional lack of downforce that is customarily used at the Norisring could see speeds further increase, as well as tyre degradation being another factor that the teams and engineers will have to cope with.

The shortest track on the calendar brings in the crowds year in, year out, whatever the weather, with the action set to increase around the bumpy circuit, that sees both Spengler and “Mr. Norising,” Audi Sport’s Jamie Green, set to go for their fifth victory respectively.

DTM Norisring Timetable: all times CEST (BST + 1 Hour)

Friday June 22nd:

1630 – Free Practice 1 – 30 minutes

Saturday June 23rd:

0830 – Free Practice 2 – 30 minutes
1020 – Qualifying 1 – 20 minutes
1330 – Race 1 – 55 minutes plus 1 lap

Sunday June 24th:

0830 – Free Practice 3 – 30 minutes
1110 – Qualifying 2 – 20 minutes
1330 – Race 2 – 55 minutes plus 1 lap.