DTM eyeing Japanese GT tie-up

A delegation from the DTM-organising ITR will travel to Japan to discuss the possibility of allowing the German touring cars and Super GT machinery to race together in the future, this week's AUTOSPORT magazine reports

DTM eyeing Japanese GT tie-up

A number of options are believed to be on the table. One would be to equate the performance of DTM and Japanese GT500 cars to allow them to run together. A move towards Super GT regulations by the DTM, which is due to introduce new rules in 2011 or '12, could be another.

The GT Association, which runs Super GT, is unlikely to be willing to change its rules, given that a new formula is in the process of being phased in. Either move could give the German touring series the third manufacturer necessary to secure its long-term future.

The visit, which follows an ITR presence at the Super GT finale at Motegi in November, comes in the wake of renewed rumours that Toyota, possibly with the Lexus brand, is evaluating a DTM entry.

An accord between the DTM and Super GT could help lure BMW into the German series.

Japan is one of the biggest markets for its M-brand cars, which explains its presence at the inaugural Asian Le Mans Series races at Okayama five weeks ago.

BMW motorsport boss Mario Theissen has stated that the Munich manufacturer would not build a car specifically for the DTM. That is why it pushed for the adoption of GT regulations to allow it to compete with its V8-powered M3 from the American Le Mans Series.

Theissen said: "We have talked to the ITR, the Automobile Club de l'Ouest [at Le Mans], the FIA and to the Japanese. If something like this happened, it would be beneficial to GT sport as a whole."

DTM and GT500 cars are similar in concept in that they are front-engined, V8-powered silhouette racers. Honda's new-for-2010 Super GT contender looks certain to be front-engined. However, they differ in the architecture underneath their lookalike bodies: a DTM car is built around a spaceframe chassis, while a GT500 car has a carbonfibre monocoque.

Although they have similar power outputs around the 500bhp mark, Super GT cars are almost certainly quicker. The DTM runs a spec tyre from Dunlop, whereas several suppliers produce the wider tyres used in Super GT.

The ITR has yet to comment on the forthcoming meeting, but the GT Association has admitted that it will be receiving a delegation from the DTM.

A spokesman said: "They want to talk about regulations with the intention of a possible link-up between our two series."
The spokesman added that the GTA does not consider it a "matter for the very near future", without elaborating on what that meant.

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