DTM going more abroad in 2018

DTM have announced their 2018 calendar today, and it will be a race calendar with just as many races outside Germany as in their home country.

The new calendar can be seen as an aim to make it more popular around Europe, compared to the more German-centric calendar through the past many seasons.

The season will start and finish at Hockenheim as tradition dictates, but there is a big shake-up in between.

The German tracks Lausitzring, Norisring and Nürburgring are once again present on the calendar, while Oschersleben is surprisingly missing for the third year in a row. Oschersleben and Sachsenring are the two only major German tracks that the DTM doesn’t visit – but they are both visited by the ADAC GT Masters.

Hungaroring is the first foreign race of the calendar, with Zandvoort and Red Bull Ring also being selected once again.

But we have said goodbye to Moscow Raceway, which probably won’t be mourned by any of the team due to the long transportation, heading east to the Russian race track.

Instead we will have both Brands Hatch in England and Misano in Italy on the new calendar.

That makes DTM return to the historic venue south east of London, for the first time since 2013. Back then the Indy Circuit was used, with laptimes sub 60 seconds. That won’t be the case this time, where the long Grand Prix layout will be run.

Misano is on the DTM calendar for the first time, and not since Adria Raceway in 2010, has the DTM visited Italy for a round of the championship. Misano was renovated 10 years ago, and has since then hosted MotoGP races among many other things.

Photo: JJ Media

It has not yet been announced which series that DTM will run together with in 2018. But it’s clear that their partner through the last many years, Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland, has chosen to be support series for ADAC GT Masters. FIA Formula 3 European Championship will follow DTM for 7 of the 10 DTM rounds, just as the Audi TT Cup will most likely join in too. The Audi TT Cup had been scrapped by Audi Sport, but will be reborn by Abt Sportline, who will run all the cars. The exact format for the drivers etc isn’t clear yet.

There will be changes on the TV side too. The host broadcaster through many years, ARD (Das Erste), has chosen not to renew their contract which ended after the 2017 season, but they will be replaced by SAT.1. The manufacturers in the DTM had hoped to stay on one of the main channels, but the commercial German Free-TV channel will be the new home for the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters from 2018 onwards.

BMW announced their 6 DTM drivers for 2018 last week, while Audi and Mercedes are more secretive about it.

The defending Champion Rene Rast has said himself that he is going to defend his title, and there are a lot of signs that Mike Rockenfeller, Loic Duval and Nico Müller will run another DTM season for Audi. But nothing has been announced officially by Audi Sport yet.

At Mercedes there are plenty of other projects buzzing around, but it might be possible for drivers to combine programmes. Lucas Auer and Gary Paffett should be a given in the DTM, while a driver like Paul Di Resta is looking a bit towards sportscars, with a Daytona 24 Hours start in January. Edoardo Mortara and Maro Engel participate in the Formula E Championship too, and that will be a bit problematic for the two drivers, since there are date clashes between Formula E in Berlin/New York and DTM at Lausitzring/Zandvoort. Robert Wickens has already left Mercedes, since he will be driving IndyCar for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. Mercedes could very well be in trouble regarding their driver line-up, since there are two date clashes with ADAC GT Masters at Sachsenring/Hockenheim on the DTM weekends at Nürburgring/Red Bull Ring. So it will be quite a puzzle for Mercedes to solve in their 2018 programme.

The DTM series will hold several test days during the spring, so the teams will be ready for the 2018 season really starts in May.

04th to 06th May Hockenheim
18th to 20th May Lausitzring
01st to 03rd June Budapest
22nd to 24th June Norisring
13th to 15th July Zandvoort
11th to 12th August Brands Hatch
24th to 26th August Misano
07th to 09th September Nürburgring
21st to 23rd September Red Bull Ring
12th to 14th October Hockenheim

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