Bigger DTM grids for 2001

DTM boss Hans-Werner Aufrecht says that bigger grids and more star names will be key to building the popularity of the DTM next year

Bigger DTM grids for 2001

Speaking at Hockenheim's DTM finale last Sunday, Aufrecht's 'state of the union' address also confirmed four non-German meetings in 2001 (see separate story) and a calendar that will contain no date clashes with Formula 1.

"It's amazing when you look at what has already been achieved," said Aufrecht, "but we have to improve our product continuously. We need to tighten a few screws, get more cars out and put even more famous drivers in the cars."

Despite no fourth manufacturer on the horizon for 2001, grid size is expected to rise from the current 20 cars to a maximum of 26 as Mercedes and Opel sell or lease year-old machinery to privateer squads. The privateer Abt squad may also sell two of its 2000-spec Audi TT-Rs.

"We will lease our cars, not sell them," said Mercedes sports chief Norbert Haug. "For x amount of money, a team gets a car for the season, spare parts and assistance. We'll have 10 cars and I expect Opel to have a similar figure."

But Opel sports boss Volker Strycek said that increasing his current quota of eight cars will depend on selling 2000-spec cars outright.

"I can't give a specific number," he said, "but if every request I've already had was genuine, we'd sell every car we have. We have to see which ones are dreams and which are real."

Haug expects the leased 2000-spec cars to be competitive with new 2001 machinery.

"With so little development allowed, they'll be within a tenth or two of a 2001 car and perfect for a youngster to get experience," he said.

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