The first DTM test of the year was done this week at Portimao.
All three DTM constructors were there, and while Audi and Mercedes both released some news about the experience, BMW has been very tight-lipped.
On March 1st we have the deadline to get the cars homologated for the 2017 season, so that’s why this specific test was very important.
There will be quite a few changes for this upcoming season, where the cars will have more horse power, less aerodynamics, a more effective DRS system, and softer tires. On top of that, tire warmers have been banned this season.
Audi Sport had send Mattias Ekström, Loic Duval, Rene Rast and Jamie Green to Portugal for the test, and all four drivers gathered good data.
Rene Rast said after the test that the 2017 car felt very different from its predecessor, and Mattias Ekström mentioned that the new tires were quicker to drop in performance, and there is a lot of tire debris offline, just like in Formula 1. So between the lines it sounded like a mix of happiness over extra grip on the softer tires, and a fear that it potentially will be harder to overtake, if there will be a lot of rubber outside the ideal line around the track, and that could be picked up on the tires during an overtake.
Mercedes had send Gary Paffett, Paul Di Resta and Edoardo Mortara, and each driver got one day in the car. All drivers managed to do more than 140 laps on the 4,648 kilometer long track, so they got a lot of data collected. Now the team is going home to analyse it, and then send in the homologation papers, so the car can be approved for the 2017 season. All three drivers mentioned that there still was a lot of setup work to do on the car, so the tone wasn’t quite as positive from Mercedes as it was from Audi.
The next time the teams will head for the track is on March 14th-16th at Vallelunga in Italy, before the final test ahead of the season start will be held at Hockenheim on April 3rd-6th.