LMDh or upgraded GT3 cars? DTM's most likely future options

A move to beefed-up GT3 cars has emerged as the most likely option for the DTM’s post-Audi future, Motorsport.com can reveal, with LMDh machinery also in contention.

LMDh or upgraded GT3 cars? DTM's most likely future options

Although ITR chairman Gerhard Berger said last week that no decision has been made regarding the kind of machinery the DTM will employ after Audi’s exit from the series, sources have suggested that both GT3 and LMDh cars are on Berger's shortlist.

LMDh, a joint product of the FIA World Endurance Championship and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, may seem like an unconventional choice for a touring car series, but ITR enjoys a strong relationship with IMSA, and the two promoters previously made a futile attempt at creating an American version of the DTM.

The idea of a sprint series based on LMDh cars was also pitched by two-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner Hans-Joachim Stuck, who won the DTM title in 1990

“With a Class One car you only have two race series," he said. “While this new IMSA/WEC category covers the whole world, no sprint races are planned for IMSA-WEC either. So why no national sprint series?"

Audi is believed to have spent 80 million euro during the first year of Class One regulations in 2019, and estimates suggest that an LMDh programme for the same number of cars could be completed for just 60 million euros.

However, the biggest hurdle in the DTM adopting the LMDh formula is that the regulations for the new category are still far from being finalised, and the first cars based on them will not be ready until 2022.

This means the DTM would have to take a voluntary hiatus in 2021, an idea Berger is not fond of.

“Breaks, I don’t think… [it] doesn't work very well,” Berger said last week.

“If you have a slightly big company and if you stop it for a year, you bring down all production lines and everything, to bring it back up again it’s a huge effort. 

“And I think here it’s the same. Everything is in place, everything is in gear. If you stop it for a year, I think that would not be a good solution. But I wouldn’t exclude anything at the moment because I simply don’t know yet what the solution is going to be.”

#6 Acura Team Penske Acura DPi: Juan Pablo Montoya, Dane Cameron, Simon Pagenaud

#6 Acura Team Penske Acura DPi: Juan Pablo Montoya, Dane Cameron, Simon Pagenaud

Photo by: Art Fleischmann

Should the DTM incline towards GT3 rules - a formula Berger has not been keen on in the past - it could tune the engines to produce more power, bringing them on level with the DTM’s current 600bhp Class One units.

However, the series will not move to a customer sport model and continue to remain heavily reliant on manufacturer involvement, similar to how factory cars race in the year-ending Macau GT race.

It will also not embrace gentleman drivers, allowing it to differentiate itself from homegrown rival GT Masters.

 "In the DTM there are only professional drivers who are also paid for their services,” Berger told Motorsport.com.

“The whole thing is supported by manufacturers who really bring in technical developments on a weekly basis and can thus offer the many fans direct sporting and technical competition.

“And this concept has been working very successfully for 30 years, which is impressively confirmed by the high spectator numbers at the DTM.

 "[In GT Masters, gentleman drivers] have taken motorsport to their hearts, often bring talent and also the necessary financial means for great GT3 cars. 

“And then at the GT Masters the field is refreshed by a few professional drivers, which can also make the races exciting.”

Read Also:

Berger has been critical of Balance of Performance in the past, but it is understood that the series will have to employ some sort of equivalence formula if it decides to take the GT3 route.

The ITR doesn’t have many other options on the table, as the GTE class appears to be on a decline in the wake of Ford and BMW’s exit from the WEC in 2019, and Porsche’s decision to withdraw from the IMSA series after the current season.

A third season with the Class One regulations also appears unlikely, as the Japanese manufacturers have shown no interest in filling the void created by Audi and R-Motorsport Aston Martin.

Likewise, a move to TCR cars would not be in line with the series’ perceived ‘premium’ notion.

Whichever route the ITR takes, its aim would be to bridge the gap until 2025, when it plans to move to an all-electric formula.

Cars of Robert Kubica, Orlen Team ART, BMW M4 DTM, Lucas Auer, BMW Team RMG, BMW M4 DTM, René Rast, Audi Sport Team Rosberg, Audi RS 5 DTM, Fabio Scherer, Audi Sport Team WRT, Audi RS 5 DTM

Cars of Robert Kubica, Orlen Team ART, BMW M4 DTM, Lucas Auer, BMW Team RMG, BMW M4 DTM, René Rast, Audi Sport Team Rosberg, Audi RS 5 DTM, Fabio Scherer, Audi Sport Team WRT, Audi RS 5 DTM

Photo by: ITR eV

shares
comments
Kubica “almost laughing” to think 2020 schedule would be too busy

Previous article

Kubica “almost laughing” to think 2020 schedule would be too busy

Next article

DTM stalwart Phoenix targets ELMS, Le Mans in 2021

DTM stalwart Phoenix targets ELMS, Le Mans in 2021
Load comments

About this article

Series DTM
Author Sven Haidinger
The slow-burner threatening to unseat Audi's DTM king Prime

The slow-burner threatening to unseat Audi's DTM king

It's taken him a while to emerge as a consistent title challenger, but in the final year of DTM's Class One ruleset, Nico Muller has smoothed the rough edges and has double champion stablemate Rene Rast working harder than ever to keep up in the title race.

DTM
Oct 14, 2020
Does 2000 hold the answers to the DTM's current crisis? Prime

Does 2000 hold the answers to the DTM's current crisis?

It's 20 years since the DTM roared back into life at a packed Hockenheim with a back-to-basics approach as the antidote to its high-tech past. Now it's on its knees again, so is it time to recall the lessons learned in 2000?

DTM
May 28, 2020
Ranking the 10 best Audi DTM drivers Prime

Ranking the 10 best Audi DTM drivers

Audi last week announced it would be exiting the DTM at the end of 2020, bringing the curtain down on 20 years of continuous participation since the series' reboot in 2000.

DTM
May 5, 2020
Why the DTM must reinvent itself after Audi exit Prime

Why the DTM must reinvent itself after Audi exit

Audi's announcement that it will withdraw from the DTM at the end of 2020 was the latest blow for a series that has lost three manufacturers in as many years. Some major soul-searching will now be required to assess how it can survive.

DTM
Apr 28, 2020
Why cynic Berger changed his mind over green tech in racing Prime

Why cynic Berger changed his mind over green tech in racing

DTM boss Gerhard Berger was a detractor of Formula E and held a reluctance for his series to embrace greener engine technologies. However, this cynic's tune has had to change to ensure DTM's existence as the motorsport world moves forward

DTM
Dec 13, 2019
What the fallout from Aston's engine split means for 2020 Prime

What the fallout from Aston's engine split means for 2020

Aston Martin's DTM arrival, via the R-Motorsport outfit, was heralded as a salvation of sorts for the series. After plenty of bumps in the road in 2019, the team finds itself in a similar position to the one it was in 12 months ago. Can it get its act together?

DTM
Dec 6, 2019
How the DTM and Super GT can build on their experiment Prime

How the DTM and Super GT can build on their experiment

The Class One 'Dream Race' staged by the DTM and SUPER GT proved a hit - from a competitive and collaborative standpoint. The next step will be for both parties to ensure a successful trial ends up being more than just that.

Super GT
Nov 29, 2019
Robot pitcrews and hydrogen – is DTM's concept plausible? Prime

Robot pitcrews and hydrogen – is DTM's concept plausible?

DTM organiser ITR has mooted a radical plan for a "truly new and inspiring" future motorsport series. How realistic are its suggestions of automated pitstops and 1000bhp hydrogen-fuelled touring cars?

DTM
Nov 11, 2019