Enjoyed a fantastic day’s motorsport at the DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft) meeting, Brands Hatch.
DTM is a spectacular version of touring car racing, based in Germany, which features several European rounds in the Championship, including this year, at Brands Hatch. The DTM is essentially a silhouette formulae, featuring the three main German premier car manufacturers, Mercedes, Audi and BMW in heavily aerodynamically modified C63, A5 and M4 models. The body and chassis is carbon fibre and all run a regulated V8 engine and sequential transmission driving the rear wheels. Common with other racing formulae, 2018 changes in regulations reduced downforce to encourage overtaking.
The driver line up has consistently comprised ex-F1 drivers plus a host of younger talent, and unusually perhaps for a German series, three British drivers: Gary Paffett is the current championship leader, Paul DiResta (Ex-F1) has won the championship and Jamie Green is still seeking his first championship despite having won 16 races in previous campaigns.
Hence the racing is a blend of aggressive looking cars, very loud rumbling engines, star pilots and close touring car style racing. To give some perspective, these are the fastest cars to race at Brands Hatch in 2018.
There are a couple of DTM innovations which other formulae would do well to note: All the cars carry an LED number which indicates their position in the race and the event is supported by a brilliant free smart phone app which streams commentary and timings as well as details of the schedule and event information. Another DTM feature is the principle of entertainment, so there are high quality support races (Audi R8’s and Mini’s this time), demonstration laps from old F1 cars, bikes and extensive manufacturers stands and free fan giveaways.
The main DTM feature of the day was a 55 minute race which was won by Daniel Juncadella in his Mercedes C63 in a maiden victory. There was an interesting strategic perspective in that six cars completed their mandatory pit stop in the first lap. This gave a slight time advantage, but also compromised their tyre performance late in the race although clearly degradation is not the issue it is in F1. There was one slow zone activated (a DTM means of dealing with a car needing recovery), but otherwise a continuous race, albeit with several cars going off, only to recover having lost time. There was lots of overtaking to enjoy with the hairpin at Druids and into Graham Hill bend being visible from where I was stood which was the glade inside of druids.
A great day’s racing – Brands Hatch has a good layout from which to enjoy the racing with far reaching views as well as the ability to get really close to the cars, and to feel the rumble in your chest!
My companion for the day was John H, an old friend with whom I have been watching motorsport for perhaps 15 or more years, it was great to catch up with him and I am grateful to him and his wife Linda for the overnight stay, for driving me to and from the event, for the packed lunch and dinner on Saturday. Utterly spoiled!
Tips for future events – take headphones to stream the commentary on your phone.