PH Blog: Hockenheim and the DTM

There are many of you out there who will rightly point out that, for the past few years, DTM has not been the most exciting of motorsport spectacles. But the sport itself knows this, and has been trying to bring more action into the mix.

In that respect, this year is the big one – the cars are all-new, the aero has been restricted, and BMW is back after a 20-year absence, bringing the German ‘Big Three’ into direct competition once again.

We’re here to see if the tweaks to the DTM recipe have worked. We’re certainly not the only ones intrigued by the new season – last week 72,000 fans turned out in a sodden central Wiesbaden for the official launch of the car. So keep checking back here over the weekend and we’ll be updating you on just how interesting the self-proclaimed most sophisticated tin-top series in the world has become.


Sunday: Hockenheim paddock

Gary Paffett leads Jamie Green
Gary Paffett leads Jamie Green
Well folks, that's it. The first race of the new DTM, done. And no, it's not the sort of white-knuckle, crash-bang-wallop racing you get in the BTCC. But as a spectacle, the close racing and fantastically well-engineered, run and funded cars make it a fascinating thing to watch.

There's also the not insignificant fact that we've just witnessed a Brit one-two (Gary Paffett beating Jamie Green to the top step of the podium after a proper close battle), with Andy Priaulx the leading BMW in sixth.

Add that to David Coulthard finishing eighth and that's four Brits in the top eight places. Which makes the DTM almost a local championship, and should give you something to cheer about if you pop along to Brands Hatch, where the series heads on 20th May.

Sunday: Hockenheim paddock

Just enjoyed lunch in the Audi Team hospitality suite (thank you Audi, with your food you've definitely earned at least one supporter on PH - not that we're that easily bought).

But the coolest bit about lunch? Definitely sitting on a table next to 1982 F1 World Champion Keke Rosberg. Your PH correspondent was too shy chat to the man himself, whose driver Edoardo Mortara sits 4th on the grid for this afternoon's race. We did take this photo of the back of his head as a souvenir, however.

Just off to watch Herr Schumacher (M) demonstrating his Mercedes F1 car before the main event. Suppose this will be one outing where he finishes in front of his teammate...

...although given the crowds (below), we might not get there in time.


BMW is back in the DTM, as this enormous T shirt reminds us...

Saturday: Hockenheim paddock

DTM meets Victorian seaside panto in this 'attraction' at the entrance to the DTM paddock. I know I look damn silly, but I just couldn't resist...

Daftness aside, initial impressions are that there are a lot of people here - it's getting on for British GP busy. Must go now, got some racing to watch...


There's a lot of very careful diplomacy between series organisers ITR and the three manufacturers involved in the DTM. See exhibit A. To wit: M5, CLS 63 and S4 Avant parked conspicuously next to each other outside the Hockenheim media centre. Nice touch...


For a sense of just how big a deal the series is, just take a look at the serried ranks of transporter lorries (all immaculately clean) and plush hospitality suites (on the left). All very F1. Oh, and there's quite a few people here too, as you can see, though it's only qualifying today...


Some on-track action at last. And, to be honest, my initial reaction is mild disappointment - these are clearly impressive machines, but the look and sound more like sports prototypes than thundering V8 saloons.

The way the cars' suspensions are upset by the kerbs at the first corner is very promising, however, so the jury's still officially out on the entertainment factor.


After a super-close qualifying session, the top three places are, unbelievably, filled by an Audi (Ekstrom), a Mercedes (Jamie Green) and a BMW (Dirk Werner). The series organisers couldn't have dreamed of that sort of result when they took the above image in Munich earlier this week...


It's not just touring cars, of course. There are plenty of supporting races, including the Porsche Carrera Cup, though sadly this particular example didn't do any racing today...

Comments (23) Join the discussion on the forum

  • marcosgt 01 May 2012

    Just finished watching the ESPN coverage of the race.

    It was very entertaining compared to DTM races over the last 5 years or so.

    There were more than a few incidents of cars touching as they passed, which never happened with the old cars (or if it did, usually spelt retirement for both due to the stupid amount of aero grip they generated and lost in every minor scrape) and the drivers were actually RACING each other, rather than following each other around until the next round of pitstops.

    I'm looking forward to the next round (Next Sunday) which is not something I've been able to say of the DTM for years!


  • mad4amanda 01 May 2012

    I cant wait for Brands on the 28th 19th and 20th May . To Me its allways been the best spectacle along with Aussie v8s (and how good would they be on the Brands GP circuit?)
    Remember buy tickets online and get them cheaper now, see you all there!

  • predding 01 May 2012

    Nice pics Riggers - was there as well and as you say crowds on Sunday were mental - mainly as it was first race of the season and BMW was back. Saturday was better day - managed to get a visit into Bruno Spenglers garage (the matt black BMW Bank car) so must have hexed it as that lost its engine cover early on.

    Lots of stuff to see and giveaways eg posters, stunning BMW Motorsport book and flags etc (easily pleased I am :-). Though next time would def pay the extra for Corp Hospitality (not a journo blagger unfortunately) as mixing it with teams and the catering would be worth every penny esp on race day.

    Walk to car park was >1km on Sunday as they blocked off the town and after the first 15 laps the result was inevitable so about 25% of the fans started to walk back to avoid the massive traffic jam after the race.

    They had DTM radio as well so all in all was a good event - access to all areas is very good, trucks look stunning but best days are def Friday and Saturday and then watch it on TV on Sunday (a bit like my philosophy for watching Silverstone)


  • Monsterlime 30 Apr 2012

    Tuscan_No27 said:
    Personally I thought DTM has always been an interesting race series - just disappointed that it was dropped by Motors TV and went to ESPN. Sorry I'm not paying for a channel to watch one race series.
    I recorded the footage on ESPN, watching it at the moment. I already knew the result, but still wanted to see the race. The commentary team on ESPN is AWFUL. I'm pretty close to turning it off just because I can't stand them, I think I'd rather it in German!

    First few laps were pretty exciting, it has gotten a bit tame now though.

    Stunned that Farfus had to just drive through the pits because his team wasn't ready for him, he must have been fuming.

    Edit - Oh, and ad breaks in the racing is very very annoying.

    Edited by Monsterlime on Monday 30th April 20:45

  • Ferb 30 Apr 2012

    DemonDriverDan said:
    Can't wait for it at Brands Hatch in May!
    I'll be there in the ute biggrin

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