A new DTM season gets underway: there will be nine drivers racing for Mercedes-
Benz in the ten races that count towards the championship, plus the new show
event scheduled for the Olympic Stadium in Munich. The newcomers to this
year’s Mercedes-Benz squad are Christian Vietoris (22, Junge Sterne AMG
Mercedes C-Class) from Germany and Renger van der Zande (25, stern AMG
Mercedes C-Class) from the Netherlands.
During the 2010 season, 22-year-old Vietoris competed in GP2, the supporting
series to Formula One. He had previously competed in the Formula 3 Euro Series
for Mücke Motorsport in a Mercedes-Benz-powered Dallara car in 2008 and 2009,
finishing as runner-up in his second season with four wins. 25-year-old van der
Zande competed in the 2010 GP3 series (also a supporting race event on GP
weekends), having contested before the German Formula 3 Championship, the
Formula 3 Euro Series and the British Formula 3 Championship in MB-powered
cars under the wing of the Mercedes-Benz young driver scheme between 2006
Lining up for the HWA team are: Gary Paffett (30, THOMAS SABO AMG Mercedes
C-Class), DTM Champion in 2005, DTM runner-up in 2004, 2009 and 2010, test
driver for the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula One team; Ralf Schumacher
(35, Salzgitter AMG Mercedes C-Class), the third-most successful German
Formula One driver ever with six Grand Prix victories under his belt; Bruno
Spengler (27, Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG C-Class), DTM runner-up in 2006 and
2007 as well as third-placed driver in 2010. Returning to the HWA team is Jamie
Green (28, AMG Mercedes C-Class) from Leicester (England), Formula 3 Euro
Series champion in 2004 and winner of the last three races at the Norisring in
Nuremberg with the same car.
Vietoris and van der Zande will not be the only drivers racing a 2008-spec CClass:
they will be joined by Susie Stoddart (28, TV Spielfilm AMG Mercedes CClass),
Maro Engel (25, GQ AMG Mercedes C-Class) and David Coulthard (40,
Deutsche Post AMG Mercedes C-Class).
DTM is continuing to pursue a policy of cost-effectiveness. Consequently, there
has been a moratorium on vehicle development since the new regulations were
introduced in August 2009.
The engines were sealed at the start of the 2009 season and no further
modifications have been permitted since then. Aerodynamics and vehicle
mechanics have been strictly prescribed since 17th August 2009, namely the
Monday after the sixth race of the season at the Nürburgring. Since 1st March
2010, this also applies to the shock absorbers, which had initially been the sole
exception to the rule.
The restriction on development options ensures further significant cost reduction,
an issue that has increasingly determined the scope of the DTM regulations, right
from the moment when the DTM series entered its ‘new era’. The 2009 AMG Mercedes C-Class that will be raced by the four HWA drivers starts the forthcoming season with real pedigree, having scored eight victories in
the eleven races of the 2010 season. Reigning DTM champion Paul Di Resta and
runner-up Gary Paffett claimed three victories each. Third-placed Bruno Spengler
contributed two more wins for Mercedes-Benz, with the ninth coming from Jamie
Green driving for the Persson team in a 2008 AMG Mercedes C-Class at the
Norisring – this marked the car’s third consecutive victory at the track.
DTM lays on a spectacle of racing excitement that is unmatched by any other
touring car championship. The 2010 series was broadcast on TV channels in 213
countries around the world. In Germany last year, total coverage of DTM
amounted to more than 89 hours, which generated around 480 million TV
contacts; on an average race weekend, approximately 1.85 million viewers tuned
in to watch the qualifying sessions and the race itself on the ARD national
network. By comparison, RTL’s coverage of Formula One last year pulled in
audiences of 8.46 million viewers for each live broadcast – so DTM nonetheless
achieved a respectable 22 percent of the Formula One figure. Worldwide, DTM
accounted for more than 5,881 hours of TV time, with qualifying and races being
shown live or recorded on 83 channels. Starting with the 2011 season, DTM will
be broadcast in high-resolution (1080i50) HDTV format. All trackside and onboard
cameras as well as the entire video wireless technology have been
upgraded to the new standard.
Norbert Haug, Vice-President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:
“The 2010 DTM season was a highly successful one for our brand as well as for
our teams. Securing nine wins in eleven races, the team championship and the
top three positions in the drivers’ championship, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class was
quite literally in a class of its own. Current title holder Paul Di Resta has built on
this success to make the step up to Formula One where he will still be driving a
Mercedes engine for his new team, Force India.
“The new season brings a new tyre partner for the DTM series by the name of Hankook, so I’m sure that the cards will be well and truly reshuffled as a result.
From our perspective, we certainly don’t have any divine right to victory and, as
ever, we will have to work hard to earn every good result. Everyone in our teams
is full of enthusiasm for the challenge ahead.”