The DTM has announced that it will return to Russia for the first time in three years for the 2020 season, visiting the brand new FIA Grade 2 circuit at Igora Drive near St Petersburg.
The DTM previously raced in Russia at the Moscow Raceway circuit between 2013 and 2017, before the country was omitted from the 2018 and 2019 schedules.
The announcement of the new Igora Drive circuit completes the ten-event 2020 calendar, with the event scheduled to take place in late May (29 – 31) as the third event of the year.
It completes an international calendar for next year, with the DTM featuring races in Belgium, Russia, Sweden, Italy, the United Kingdom and The Netherlands in addition to four races in Germany.
The contract for the event was signed on Thursday by ITR Managing Director Achim Kostron.
“We are very happy to have brought the DTM back to Russia after a two-year absence,” said Kostron. “The Igora Park is a hugely impressive facility, capable of hosting world-class, international motorsport.
“The track configuration looks set to provide thrilling racing, which will impress spectators in the grandstands as much as the fans watching on their TVs when we visit next May.”
The DTM event will be the first international race to be held at the state-of-the-art circuit, which is located approximately 80 kilometres to the north of St Petersburg.
The 4.086-kilometre circuit is adjacent to a large holiday resort and also features a multi-sport complex including motorcross and rallycross circuits, an off-road driving centre, a driving safety centre and a karting circuit.
“Signing the contract on one of the most popular and spectacular racing series in the world is a milestone not only for the ‘Igora Drive’ complex and Saint Petersburg but also for all the motor-racing fans in Russia and worldwide as a great return of DTM to Russia after long three years break,” said multiple Russian cross-country rally champion Vladimir Vasiliev, who was one of the ‘ideologists’ of the project.
“In fact, today we witness history – Saint Petersburg becomes a part of the motor-racing world, the legendary DTM series comes back to Russia and the significant location on the worldwide map of auto-sport and motor racing – the ‘Igora Drive’ complex.”
Present at the launch event of the Hermann Tilke-designed circuit were DTM champion René Rast and BMW’s Philipp Eng.
“I am very curious about what to expect,” said Rast. “The track looks extremely interesting: I’ve already looked at some photos and videos on YouTube in order to get a better idea of what the whole thing will look like.
“It looks pretty fast in some areas – amd that’s exactly what we drivers always want: fast corners where you need to be brave.”
Eng added that he had visited Russia for the first time and was looking forward to racing in the country in 2020.
“I’m really looking forward to the racing in Russia,” said Eng. “For the press conference, I travelled to Russia for the first time ever. It was a cool trip and a great experience. The track looks great, and I can’t wait to aim for victories and trophies there next year.”