This weekend sees the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters start the second half of the season, with the series racing on a full Grand Prix circuit in the UK for the first time in over a decade, having last done so at Donington Park in 2004.
The last time the DTM visited Brands Hatch on the Indy Circuit in 2013, Mike Rockenfeller took the win en route to securing his first drivers’ title. Paul Di Resta and Gary Paffett have been others that have won there when the DTM has visited the UK, but only on the 1.929-km circuit variation.
On this occasion, however, the full 3.908-km Grand Prix loop will be used, with both Audi and Mercedes having an equal tally of four wins each around the smaller track over recent times.
Coming into this round, the race for the title is currently being led by Suffolk’s Gary Paffett, who is currently on 148 points, 27 ahead of countryman Paul Di Resta, whilst initial series leader Timo Glock is the best of the BMW drivers in third place.
All will be feeling a lot more pressure this weekend, especially as the three practice sessions will span a total of one hour and ten minutes, due to a more compact timetable over Saturday and Sunday.
“Brands Hatch will be a tough weekend,” explains Paffett, who honestly admitted his lack of running around the full circuit, despite his lengthy racing career.
“It’s going to be a big challenge, as we won’t be having Friday practice and don’t know the circuit all that well. After all, we’ve never driven DTM cars on the grand-prix circuit before. It’s going to be tough, but I’m confident that the car will be excellent.”
The Briton has shown in recent years that when DTM heads to new tracks, he’s always been one of the standout drivers to hit the ground running and be on the pace from the start.
“I must now focus on getting the best out of myself and the car. I’m really looking forward to it. Hopefully, we can get some good results.”
Other drivers further down the table, including Philipp Eng, who has won at the Kent-based venue, are looking forward to returning to the full circuit.
“I know the long layout at Brands Hatch from last year, when I drove the BMW M6 GT3 there in the Blancpain GT Series. I won my first race in Formula 2 there in 2003 and added a second win in 2010 – so I know the track well and hope that will help me,” admitted the Austrian, who has secured two podium finishes at Lausitzring and the Hungaroring this season
“Brands Hatch is like a mini Nürburgring-Nordschleife. When you leave the Grand Prix Circuit, you feel as though you are driving on a different track, especially in the woods at the back of the circuit where you need plenty of courage when you come to the fast right-hander at the end of the long straight. There are a lot of blind corners, particularly in the second sector. However, I think it will be great fun for us and the spectators.”
The DTM will be supported by the Audi Sport Seyffarth R8 LMS Cup and the MINI Challenge UK this weekend, with the track set to be a hive of activity, providing intense and dramatic racing.
The second half of the season gets underway this Saturday morning, with the driver, team and constructor titles still very open at this point.
DTM Brands Hatch timetable (All times at British Summer Time)
Saturday August 11th
09.00 – Free Practice 1 – 25 minutes
09.35 – Free Practice 2 – 25 minutes
11.20 – Race 1 Qualifying – 20 minutes
13.30 – Race 1 – 55 minutes plus one lap
Sunday August 12th
10.00 – Free Practice 3 – 20 minutes
11.20 – Race 2 Qualifying – 20 minutes
13.30 – Race 2 – 55 minutes plus one lap