Hockenheim Preview: Not your average DTM finale

Hockenheim Preview: Not your average DTM finale

Photo: Audi

The DTM returns to Hockenheim for the 2019 season finale after 16 frenetic races that has seen Audi Sport Team Rosberg’s René Rast claim a second title. Now, with the drivers’ championship decided, the focus turns to an exciting new challenge this weekend.

Joining the DTM grid for the final two races are three Super GT cars, one from each of the major brands, Lexus, Honda, and Nissan. As both series deepen their relationship, this will be the first time the two series meet in race competition.

The DTM drivers and teams will have to watch their backs, as a star studded line-up from the Asian series will be attempting to upset the pecking order.

Watch out DTM. Photo: Audi

The Track
The Hockenheimring is a favourite for motorsport fans, and the location is considered the home of DTM, hosting 93 races in total.

A circuit with a high average speed, drivers require a car to be quick through the opening sector and through the long Parabolika, in addition to needing good grip through the more technical final sector.

The first corner, NordKurve, is near flat out for the current specification of DTM car with drivers travelling at 190km/h through the apex, before running wide and using all available track on the exit.

Turn 2 represents a good passing opportunity, although the focus of the second gear right hander is to get an optimal exit through the left of Turn 3 onto the fastest stretch of circuit.

Although the Parabolika curves slightly to the left, it is flat out, with drivers topping out at 295km/h before dropping the anchor for the Spitzkehre hairpin.

This is the best overtaking opportunity on the track, with the competitors able to utilise DRS and Push-to-Pass through the Parabolika to set up a move under braking.

Drama is never far away at the hairpin. Photo: Audi

Drivers then go flat out again through the kink at Turn 7 before braking for the left-hander in the shadow of the Mercedes grandstand. This particular corner has seen drama throughout the years, as unsolved disputes on the exit of the hairpin typically get sorted out through here.

A switchback esses through Turn 9/10 sees drivers approach the final sector, and the Einfahrt Motodrom turn (Turn 11). The near-flat right hander narrows dramatically as drivers transition from the wide expanse that forms part of the Hockenhei dragstrip, to the historical stadium sector.

In order to maximise the turn, all the available exit kerbing is used by drivers, although it can be treacherous as grip drops significantly.

The Sachskurve is one of the most iconic corners in German motorsport, and also provides a great passing opportunity following Turn 11. The banked left-hander swoops infront of the adoring fans that fill the grandstands without question.

A quick flick through the left-right at Turn 13/14 before the double right hander of Turn 15/16 that completes the lap. The final two corners demand a car that is stable, and able to commit to turn-in whilst carrying notable speed.

The Arena section is an iconic part of Hockenheim. Photo: Audi

Earlier this year

The DTM has visited the Hockenheim circuit twice a year since the series inception, however this is set to change with a reshuffled calendar for 2020. Hockenheim will continue to host the final round of the season, much to the fans pleasure.

The opening race of the 2019 season was affected by rain, and BMW Team RMG’s Marco Wittmann stamped a mark on the championship by storming from pole to victory. On Aston Martin’s debut event, R-Motorsports driver Paul Di Resta took a stunning third on the grid during a wet qualifying, but was forced to retire from the race.

Race two was just as much a spectacle, as now-champion Rast stormed from 16th on the grid to take victory after employing a two-stop strategy. The second stop left the Audi driver 15th on the road, but with fresh Hankook rubber was able to pass his way to the front.

Rast cut through the pack earlier this year. Photo: Audi

What to expect

This weekend is somewhat of an unknown for the DTM, with the appearance of the SuperGT entries, and with the drivers’ title wrapped up, it has the feel of a victory parade for Rast and Team Rosberg, who will likely secure the teams’ title as well.

However, as always with the DTM, the 18 drivers will not hold back, especially with the competition provided by the SuperGT entrants.

Drama is never far away at Hockenheim either, and with several good overtaking opportunities, expect action throughout the pack from lap one to the checkered flag.