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"Complete s***show" - Does the DTM test still make sense in its current form?

The format of last week’s official DTM pre-season test has caused a lot of dissatisfaction in the paddock, with one senior figure describing it as a “complete s***show”.

Ricardo Feller, Team ABT Sportsline Audi R8 LMS GT3.

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

The ADAC organised a mandatory two-day test at Hockenheim on 9-10 April, giving all teams a chance to get some running under their belts before the opening round of the season at Oschersleben on 27-28 April.

Given that testing has been restricted to a certain number of days this year as part of a plan to rein in costs, the official running should have been a rare chance for teams to gauge their performance against the rest of the field and make further preparations for the new season.

But with Hockenheim not due to host a race until October, and the Balance of Performance still to be set, the teams were unwilling to unleash their true pace in the test.

"This is a complete shitshow," a senior team employee, who did not wish to be named, told Autosport's sister title Motorsport-Total.com. 

"We're burning fuel and tyres for nothing, learning nothing at all. Nobody shows what they can do here. Why should they?"

The same team executive believes the ADAC should have given an incentive to teams to show their hand in testing, citing the example of IMSA, where the Roar Before The 24 test also doubles up as qualifying for the Daytona 24 Hours.

"In Daytona, for example, the starting grid is determined during the official test,” he said. “And when something is at stake, you suddenly no longer drive with the handbrake on."

However, the test wasn’t completely pointless for all teams, as it allowed DTM newcomers like Dorr to hit the ground running.

 "This doesn't mean much for the experienced teams who have already completed hundreds of laps here, but for us, it's super important - every kilometre helps us," said team owner Rainer Dorr, whose McLaren team is entering the DTM this year.

The Dorr team’s second 720S GT3 Evo was only delivered the week prior to the test, so it needed to get some mileage on the new car to make sure it was ready for racing.

In addition, driver Ben Dorr has very limited experience in GT3 racing, so the test was crucial for his adaptation to the car he will be racing in the DTM this year for his father’s team.

Meanwhile, Abt Sportline, which knows the Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo inside out, packed up early and skipped the final hour of testing last Wednesday.

 "We had a program and we're going through it," said Abt managing director Thomas Biermaier, who wasn't there. "It's no use driving senseless kilometres."

However, Biermaier feels the test served some important side objectives that helped lift the marketing side of the DTM.

Mirko Bortolotti, SSR Performance Lamborghini Huracán EVO GT3

Mirko Bortolotti, SSR Performance Lamborghini Huracán EVO GT3

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

 "Basically, I see all the teams coming together shortly before the season as positive. All the teams and drivers are there, everyone shows their overalls and their liveries," he explained. 

"This is important for the press so that everyone can take the necessary pictures."

“Hockenheim is okay as a venue because if you do something like that in Misano, no one is interested.

“But when it comes to the issue of performance, we have the same discussion every year before and after the test: It doesn't actually help."

Asked if the teams should be offered some sporting benefit for taking part in the test, he said: “You could maybe award a few points, but I don't know.

“Then I can do a racing event straight away. It's a warm-up, a kind of shakedown - and you can't take the lap times lightly."

For its part, the ADAC is against the idea of using artificial measures to force the teams to set fast times in testing.

"I am against over-regulation," ADAC's motorsport chief Thomas Voss told Motorsport-Total.com.

"They should test here in peace. We have two new teams with us who are not yet familiar with the whole environment. It would be the wrong approach to demand maximum performance from them now.

“We should leave it as it is.”

Voss stressed that it’s also common in other sports for teams and players to not show their true performance during training.

"When FC Bayern train at Sabenerstrasse, they don't mess around like they do in the game,” he quipped. 

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