DTM introduces lighting system to avoid tyre usage confusion

The DTM will use an onboard lighting system to show when cars are racing on option tyres at Brands Hatch this weekend in response to the confusion generated by the new rubber at Hockenheim

DTM introduces lighting system to avoid tyre usage confusion

The Formula 1-style option tyres were introduced at Hockenheim two weeks ago as part of a raft of technical changes aimed at spicing up the on-track action.

The option Hankooks were marked with a yellow stripe in order to allow spectators to see when a driver was using his one permitted set of the soft rubber during the race.

However, the stripe proved difficult to spot. With timing screens and television graphics also failing to display sufficient information, fans, commentators and even teams were unable to spot what many cars were using at any given time.

Series promoter the ITR has responded by using the orange lights mounted on the sides of each car - and previously used to show how many pitstops a driver had made - to display tyre usage.

The orange lights will come on when a car is on option tyres and will be turned off when it is using the harder, standard rubber.

ITR chairman Hans Werner Aufrecht said: "We have to involve and inform both the fans on-site and watching on TV much better. To them the races must be more clear.

"The race at Hockenheim made clear that identifying the yellow marks on the option tyres was virtually impossible. Consequently even our TV commentators had the problem of identifying what was going on.

"We are working in cooperation with [German motorsport federation] the DMSB and Hankook on ways to improve this, such as using the LED lights. We hope that this will be a significant step forward at Brands Hatch."

AUTOSPORT understands that the possibility of widening the yellow stripe on the options, so as to make it more visible, is also being evaluated.

AUTOSPORT SAYS
Reports editor Jamie O'Leary (@mrjamieoleary)

Bravo DTM. Rather than just bury their heads in the sand, the decision-makers within the ITR have come up with a solution that - hopefully - will work at Brands Hatch.

It may not sound like such a significant move, but take it from me, deciphering strategies from within the Hockenheim press room two weeks ago proved nigh-on impossible. Not what you need when trying to come up with a concise way of relaying what went on in your AUTOSPORT.com report.

And it wasn't just me either. Several TV commentators and numerous team managers were equally baffled. None of us were able to read the race properly, and were therefore in the dark as to whether driver X's pace at any particular stage of the race was option-influenced or not.

That's just us lot, who had the benefit of timing screens and the odd publicly-broadcast pit-to-car radio transmission. The fans sitting in the grandstand had none of that, and must have been even more confused.

Key to the cause of the problem was that the yellow stripes painted on the sidewalls of the options were simply not wide enough, and were impossible to see at speed; the tyres being of a far lower profile than those used in Formula 1, for example.

The use of side and front-mounted LEDs is, for now, a trial. If it doesn't work, you can bet a different solution will be employed at Spielberg. They do have a habit of getting things right in the DTM, remember...

shares
comments
DTM's DRS system will be limited at Brands Hatch - Mattias Ekstrom

Previous article

DTM's DRS system will be limited at Brands Hatch - Mattias Ekstrom

Next article

Formula 1 stars in the DTM

Formula 1 stars in the DTM
Load comments

About this article

Series DTM
Author Jamie O'Leary
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
Does 2000 hold the answers to DTM's current crisis? Plus

Does 2000 hold the answers to DTM's current crisis?

It's 20 years since the DTM roared back into life at a packed Hockenheim with a back-to-basics approach as the antidote to its high-tech past. Now it's on its knees again, so is it time to recall the lessons learned in 2000?

DTM
May 28, 2020
The last-chance saloon of Germany's forgotten tin-top champions Plus

The last-chance saloon of Germany's forgotten tin-top champions

The Opel Vectra GTS was the last in the line of the marque's DTM challengers, but failed to hit the lofty heights of its predecessors when financial constraints hit

DTM
May 15, 2020
Ranking the 10 best Audi DTM drivers Plus

Ranking the 10 best Audi DTM drivers

Audi last week announced it would be exiting the DTM at the end of 2020, bringing the curtain down on 20 years of continuous participation since the series' reboot in 2000. Autosport's expert panel ranks its 10 best drivers from the period

DTM
May 5, 2020
How the DTM landed itself in crisis Plus

How the DTM landed itself in crisis

Audi's announcement that it will withdraw from the DTM was the latest bodyblow for a series that has lost three manufacturers in as many years. Some major soul-searching will now be required to assess how it can survive

DTM
Apr 28, 2020
The FE cynic who had to accept change in his series Plus

The FE cynic who had to accept change in his series

DTM boss Gerhard Berger was an ardent detractor of Formula E and was reluctant for his series to embrace greener engine technologies. But this cynic's tune has had to change to ensure the DTM's existence in the future of motorsport

DTM
Dec 13, 2019