Button was "surviving" not racing in wet joint SUPER GT, DTM race

Ex-Formula 1 driver Jenson Button says the SUPER GT cars were only "surviving" as they struggled to adapt to the DTM's wet tyre during the two series' shared Hockenheim weekend

Button was "surviving" not racing in wet joint SUPER GT, DTM race

As the two championships shared a track competitively for the first time last weekend, 2009 F1 champion Button put in the best showing of the SUPER GT contingent on Saturday, maximising the drying conditions to put his Kunimitsu Honda sixth in qualifying.

Button then bounced back from a slow pitstop that dropped him to 16th and crossed the line ninth, but he was only able to muster 16th in Sunday's wet race - despite his team improving its pitstop significantly.

The Honda driver had said on Saturday that he expected wet conditions would hurt the SUPER GT teams as they tried to come to terms with the wet, control Hankook tyre.

SUPER GT has a tyre war in its regular season, but racing alongside the DTM, its teams were forced to used the control Hankook of which the Japanese teams had limited experience.

Asked by Autosport to summarise his weekend, Button said: "Yesterday [Saturday] was fun in the dry.

"I still think there is a lot of work we need to do to actually get the tyres working. But in the wet, it wasn't [fun], yeah.

"To be fair we might as well not call it racing, because we couldn't get any temperature in the tyre.

"We are not competing with DTM, it's just surviving really out there [because of the tyre].

"Yeah, so wasn't really a fun day."

SUPER GT's learning process ahead of the joint-racing at Fuji got off to a difficult start when its Thursday two-hour test was hit with changeable conditions, before Nick Cassidy and Tsugio Matsuda both had offs during practice in their TOM'S Lexus and NISMO-run Nissan respectively.

When Cassidy returned to the wheel on Sunday in the wet finale, he looked set to be the top SUPER GT runner but crashed after a clash with Jonathan Aberdein, while the Nissan also had several reliability issues through the weekend.

When Button was asked why the SUPER GT teams struggled in wet conditions, he said: "With the dry tyres, we can get them in a working window. But the wets, we can't.

"Obviously, it's very difficult for us as drivers, coming and using a tyre so much harder than we're used to.

"You learn to adapt and, I think we did as drivers, but the cars didn't.

"We tried everything, but we couldn't switch the tyres on, and we were running three seconds slower than these [DTM] guys.

"A lot of learning [and], hopefully, for the Fuji race all the guys will learn from what we did today and how bad it was!

"Hopefully [the SUPER GT teams] give these [DTM] guys a bit more of a challenge in Fuji."

Button added that racing alongside the DTM had taught SUPER GT "so much" as the DTM's control tyre forced the Japanese teams into wider set-up experiments for the first time.

He also expanded on the differences between the DTM and SUPER GT cars, and the areas it gives Honda, Lexus and Nissan to learn from.

"In terms of set-up, we've done more set-up work than the whole SUPER GT season," said Button.

"But also, when you look at the driveability, these guys are running over kerbs and able to get on the power. They get oversteer, but it looks like you can hold onto it. With us, it's a sudden snap.

"There's a lot to look at with driveability of the powerunit, which I think is quite exciting.

"We have so much grip on corner exits that we don't normally feather the throttle, we just plant it and it grips up and we can go. It's very different.

"I think it really helps the SUPER GT teams that are here for the future, racing in Japan. Helps them understand the power and areas we don't really delve into."

shares
comments
BMW's Glock had to hold door in during opening Hockenheim DTM race
Previous article

BMW's Glock had to hold door in during opening Hockenheim DTM race

Next article

DTM field for shared Fuji SUPER GT event set as BMW picks Wittmann

DTM field for shared Fuji SUPER GT event set as BMW picks Wittmann
Load comments
How the DTM's shambolic finale poses awkward future questions Plus

How the DTM's shambolic finale poses awkward future questions

OPINION: The scenes at the Norisring as Mercedes used blatant team orders to secure the first DTM title of the new GT3 era totally undermined the credibility of the championship. But as well as overshadowing the season, it also presents uncomfortable questions to series bosses about the direction it is headed in

DTM
Oct 12, 2021
How Audi's new DTM star is channeling Rast to achieve his "childhood dream" Plus

How Audi's new DTM star is channeling Rast to achieve his "childhood dream"

Having learned the ropes in GT3 alongside Rene Rast, Kelvin van der Linde is in line to take up the three-time champion's baton as Audi's new DTM king. From humble origins in South Africa, it's been a remarkable journey so far for the current series leader, but he knows that the 2021 title is a long way from settled just yet

DTM
Sep 18, 2021
The number-crunching behind the new-look DTM's equalisation drive Plus

The number-crunching behind the new-look DTM's equalisation drive

Switching to GT3 regulations marked a fresh start for the DTM in 2021, but it has also drawn a line in the sand against other series using similar cars by engaging AVL Racing to develop a bespoke Balance of Performance system. Here’s how it works

DTM
Jul 23, 2021
The initial verdict on DTM's move to GT3 cars Plus

The initial verdict on DTM's move to GT3 cars

OPINION: Facing collapse last year, the DTM has shifted its philosophy from a championship for silhouette-based touring cars to GT machines not too dissimilar to those racing across multiple series worldwide. But despite some initial BoP-based teething troubles, there were some pleasant findings as the 'new DTM' got underway at Monza

DTM
Jun 22, 2021
Why Albon has his work cut out in the new-look DTM Plus

Why Albon has his work cut out in the new-look DTM

The DTM moves into its bold new GT3 era with welcome support from Red Bull, which enters two AF Corse-run Ferraris. That includes one for ex-F1 driver Alex Albon, who’s determined to make a success of his GT switch - but he knows it won't be easy...

DTM
Jun 17, 2021
The slow-burner threatening to unseat Audi's DTM king Plus

The slow-burner threatening to unseat Audi's DTM king

It's taken him a while to emerge as a consistent title challenger, but in the final year of DTM's Class One rule set, Nico Muller has smoothed the rough edges and has double champion stablemate Rene Rast working harder than ever to keep up in the title race

DTM
Oct 13, 2020
How a DTM failure became an unlikely Nurburgring conqueror Plus

How a DTM failure became an unlikely Nurburgring conqueror

Opel's fortunes in the DTM had taken a turn for the worst by 2003 - hardly the pedigree that suggested it could take on the toughest 24-hour race of them all. But that's exactly what it did

DTM
Sep 23, 2020
The season that revitalised a sleeping giant Plus

The season that revitalised a sleeping giant

On the 20th anniversary of the resumption of hostilities in the DTM, Autosport revisits a classic season that brought a staple of German motorsport back to life with a bang and set in motion the careers of some notable names

DTM
May 28, 2020