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The way the DTM is keeping its touring car past alive

Whenever historic Formula 1 machinery takes to the track on a grand prix weekend, theres always the chance of the contemporary machines being upstaged. Think about the eye garnered by Fernando Alonsos demo runs in his 2005 title-winning Renault R25 at the 2020 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, or Ralf Schumacher lapping his 2003 Williams FW25 at comparable pace in the crowd-pleasing Legends Parade segment at the Austrian Grand Prix. Masters Historic Formula 1 has supported F1 previously, but its unlikely to take action regularly.

Thats false with the DTM, which promotes its historic championship as a fixture on its support bill. The new-for-2022 DTM Classic Cup permits machines that raced in the DTM between 1984 and 2007 (including its period referred to as the International Touring Car Championship with Class 1 machines, and the STW Super Touring series that filled the gaps between your ITCs 1996 collapse and the DTMs 2000 rebirth). European Touring Car Championship cars from exactly the same era, along with Super Touring machines that raced in the British Touring Car Championship, may also be eligible.

Its an easy church that underscores the continued need for touring car racing to series organiser ITR, even with switching its platform to GT3. As DTM Classic director Peter Oberndorfer explains, ITR views its historic offering being an important draw to improve footfall, with 10 races across five rounds, the newest at Spa earlier this month.

Gerhard Berger [ITR boss] realised these old cars are actually attracting the spectators, many of them grew up using them and viewed them as kids from the fence or on TV, says Oberndorfer, who finished fifth in the 1985 DTM. Even young guys want in these cars. Maybe theyre more approachable technically, so we decided that is a fixed column of the DTM platform.

DTM Classic joins the GT4-based DTM Trophy for young drivers, DTM Esports and the planned DTM Electric series, that is anticipated for 2024, as staples of the line-up. Oberndorfer also organises the Classic DRM Cup for cars from the pre-DTM era after what he terms a quite successful one-off for all those machines at the Red Bull Ring in 2021. It includes a limited schedule this season of three rounds.

Oberndorfer describes Classic DRM as market niche without other platform designed for these cars. At its Imola premiere, both races were won by the ex-Klaus Ludwig 1981 DRM title-winning Zakspeed Capri owned and run by Mucke Motorsport, with father and son pair Peter and Stefan taking turns to operate a vehicle, while overseeing the household teams single-car DTM and two-car DTM Trophy efforts.

At the Nurburgring, Stefan campaigned a BMW M1 Procar and prevailed following a race-long dogfight along with his father in failing light, a magnificent treat for individuals who had stayed following the fog delay. Mucke Sr won race two unopposed.

Father and son, Peter and Stefan Mucke, enjoyed an entertaining scrap in the DRM Cup at the Nurburgring with the latter's BMW M1 Procar prevailing

Father and son, Peter and Stefan Mucke, enjoyed an entertaining scrap in the DRM Cup at the Nurburgring with the latter’s BMW M1 Procar prevailing

Photo by: Marc Boels

After different experiences with other series, we made a decision to take action ourselves, continues Oberndorfer, who overran the rival Tourenwagen Classic series in an exceedingly friendly solution to realise ITRs mission after DTM hosted Tourenwagen Legenden races in 2021: Who be much better than the platform DTM to market old DTM cars?

Fittingly, DTM Classics first race at the Lausitzring was won by way of a name instantly familiar to aficionados. After early leader Stefan Muckes Opel Calibra pulled off, Yannick Trautwein led Kris Nissen in a 1-2 for the newly formed Schnitzer Classic team. Owned by Trautweins father Stefan, it recently acquired competition cars, spare parts, equipment and naming rights from the fabled Schnitzer BMW team that folded in 2020. Another Mucke-run entry, Ronny Scheers ex-Robb Gravett 1990 BTCC title-winning Ford Sierra RS500 Cosworth, won race two.

From 16 cars at the Lausitzring, the DTM Classic Cup grid had expanded to 24 entrants at the Norisring, with a bunch of star names including Hans-Joachim Stuck and Walter Rohrl joining the grid, Stuck going for a podium in the next race in his 1992 Audi.

“Spectators can easily see all periods of motorsport history and I believe its vital that you have that. Many individuals remember these cars from if they were young and today theyre a bit older and also have kids, they would like to suggest to them the way the cars were at that time” Stefan Mucke

Bruno Spengler, the 2012 DTM champion with Schnitzer and five times successful at the Norisring in the DTM, was also on the list of star names on the grid racing for BMW Classic, fittingly reunited along with his chief mechanic from his title-winning year. Driving Johnny Cecottos 1998 STW title-winning BMW 320i he says was for me personally like Christmas.

These cars were awesome, the BMW works driver gushes. This DTM Classic is something amazing because you can find a wide variety of cars, car variations. You have significantly more recent cars which are a little quicker than mine is, but to see each one of these different cars which history, its amazing to participate.

Spengler joined Stuck and Audi 200 driver Anthon Werner on the race two podium. Gerhard Fullers ex-Uwe Alzen Opel Vectra STW had won the opener, profiting from the loose bonnet on Klaus Hoffmanns 2000 Norisring-winning ex-Jo Winkelhock Opel Astra.

Stefan Mucke too was within an ex-Gerd Ruch Ford Mustang from 1994, but withdrew with rear axle issues. Nonetheless it was out again in Guido Momms hands at the Nurburgring Old Timer meeting that also formed portion of the championship. There, 1993 DTM runner-up Roland Asch took pole for race one within an exemplory case of the Mercedes 190E he raced that year, before mechanical problems promoted Scheers Sierra. BMW driver Steffen Lykke Gregersen won race two.

Past DTM champions Spengler (2012) and Stuck (1990) joined Audi driver Anton  Werner on the DTM Classic podium at the Norisring

Past DTM champions Spengler (2012) and Stuck (1990) joined Audi driver Anton Werner on the DTM Classic podium at the Norisring

Photo by: DTM

Oberndorfer believes that admitting cars that arent strictly DTM machines may be the right call, because theyre real touring cars, theyre quite near a few of the DTM cars, and since parts availability with real DTM cars isn’t that easy.

Its a spot former Aston Martin and Ford GT ace Mucke will abide by, citing the rare chance of fans to compare the performance of cars created to different rulesets in exactly the same race.

Spectators can easily see all periods of motorsport history and I believe its vital that you have that, says Mucke, who raced in the DTM between 2002 and 2006. Many individuals remember these cars from if they were young and today theyre a bit older and also have kids, they would like to suggest to them the way the cars were at that time.

We’ve excellent feedback, reports Oberndorfer. [Customers] believe they can have a great time here. And the old pros that never stopped driving, they prefer to drive these old cars and arrived at races still exactly like 30 years before.

Also I believe the DTM platform is attracting plenty of guys, and that means you have all of the action here from the DTM, you have good tracks just like the Norisring, like we’d in Imola. We’d an excellent field there [24 cars], therefore i think it had been something of market gap for the old DRM cars.

Oberndorfer recognises an evergrowing momentum behind DTM Classic Cup and is set to retain an focus on quality in the field Weren’t taking Porsches or sportscars, were taking touring cars while sustaining the wave of interest. He credits the English-language coverage on live streaming portal DTM Grid and broadcast TV agreements because the best marketing for the series, which advantages from piggybacking onto the DTMs existing TV infrastructure.

People start to see the field, they start to see the racing not to mention the people engaging are telling their friends, Were happy, its a good atmosphere, he says. Should you have an excellent product, it speaks for itself. I tried to view it from the perspective of the participants, the drivers and teams, also to do everything [to ensure] they have a great time here.

Peter Oberndorfer (right) with ITR boss Gerhard Berger sees potential in the growing DTM Classic platform

Peter Oberndorfer (right) with ITR boss Gerhard Berger sees potential in the growing DTM Classic platform

Photo by: DTM

Mucke adds: We are able to visit a big potential there. Plenty of customers desire to go there because its an excellent platform, its professional motorsport, its an excellent environment, plenty of spectators. Needless to say, if you have an automobile thats expensive to perform the Calibra for instance, you will need a large amount of team personnel and mileage of the engine isn’t much you then desire to spend that money not in a no-name series, you would like to show your vehicle in an excellent environment. The DTM platform will undoubtedly be very important to us.

Even though its unlikely, Mucke believes, that active DTM drivers will pull double duty as the concentration ought to be always on DTM, the attraction will be there for famous brands Spengler at a loose end on weekends. Oberndorfer is keen for car owners to create a high-profile secondary driver to talk about with at events.

Ive done plenty of professional racing within the last 20 years but driving these historic cars may also be a lot more challenging than driving a GT3 car where you have lots of electronics and ABS, Mucke says. Driving a historic car from the 1990s isnt easy, but its great fun and thats what drivers want.

Mucke says racing period DTM cars on the limit is much more challenging than hustling a contemporary GT3 with driver aids

Mucke says racing period DTM cars on the limit is a lot more difficult than hustling a contemporary GT3 with driver aids

Photo by: DTM

The challenges of owning a Class 1 tin-top

Technology advances imply that cars competing in historic racing are increasingly complicated. Possibly the best exemplory case of this is actually the 2011 Peugeot 90X run by Bob Berridges BBM Sport in Masters Endurance Legends. But also for another, think about the four-wheel-drive Class 1 beasts of the International Touring Car Championship. So extreme that manufacturers deemed them very costly, evoking the series implosion in 1996, they havent become any less so in the intervening years because they have become qualified to receive historic competition.

The 1995 ex-Keke Rosberg Opel Calibra becoming restored by Mucke Motorsport Classic was presented with an outing in the opening DTM Classic race of the entire year at Lausitzring with Stefan Mucke at the wheel, and led until a head gasket failed. As Mucke puts it, even yet in period when parts were being frequently serviced and replenished by factory teams, its finishing record wasnt exemplary

The Calibra is an extremely difficult car with all the current hydraulics and electronics, there exists a large amount of development essential to obtain it reliable, he says. Theres a large job list!

“Im sure next year would be the year for the automobile. We will make it happen, but its an elaborate car” Stefan Mucke

The procedure of rebuilding the engine and gearbox and acquiring spares for components to be lifed properly in some instances every 500km is ongoing, where you cant say from now to in a few days you can find each one of these parts.

Its lots of parts which includes to be produced, explains Mucke. There’s some old stock available, nevertheless, you never know very well what you obtain.

Until an adequate pool of spares is made up, the Calibra wont race either in customer hands or again with Mucke when driving – although he was out used at Spa. Its complexity helps it be inaccessible for gentleman drivers to properly understand and optimise with out a professional to create it up.

We understand it better & most of the systems are running now, but its still a means [to go], Mucke says. Im sure next year would be the year for the automobile. We will make it happen, but its an elaborate car.

But, he says, the response it got at Lausitzring was worth the travails.

The feedback from the spectators was great, adds Mucke. Lots of people just found the track to note that car

Mucke led at the Lausitzring in the Calibra before a blown head gasket forced retirement

Mucke led at the Lausitzring in the Calibra before a blown head gasket forced retirement

Photo by: Marc Boels

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