DTM set to introduce slow zones from Zandvoort round in July

Speed-restricted 'slow zones' could be used in DTM race conditions for the first time at Zandvoort next month, pending a successful final trial at the Norisring

DTM set to introduce slow zones from Zandvoort round in July

The DTM has been working towards its version of Formula 1's virtual safety car, a GPS-monitored 80km/h limit through the timing sector of an incident, as an alternative to a full safety-car period.

Trials were conducted during pre-season testing and in practice for the first two rounds of the series, and a final assessment will be conducted during Friday afternoon's practice session at the Norisring.

Successful feedback would mean slow zones are made available to the race director in qualifying and races from Zandvoort's round on July 10-12.

BMW's 2012 champion, Bruno Spengler endorsed the system ahead of its likely introduction.

"I'm quite convinced. It's a good solution that the series came up with, for the safety of the marshals and the safety of everyone," he said.

"We've tested it a few times in free practice and it's worked well.

"We will test it again here to see if something happens, then use it for the race in Zandvoort."

Fine-tuning in recent months has focused on defining how drivers would be penalised for overshooting their entry to the zone, and ensuring complete reliability.

In a trial during Hockenheim's season opener, the system failed to activate in one car.

"There's a few bugs that still need to be worked out and, to be honest, that's the reason why it hasn't been implemented earlier," Mercedes driver Robert Wickens said.

"But I would say we're 90 per cent there and hopefully for Zandvoort it should be good and ready."

GLOCK HAS DOUBTS

While the methodology behind slow zones has the support of the paddock, some figures have questioned whether using it instead of the safety car is a good fit for the series.

"Personally, I don't think slow zone is the right way to go for the show," Timo Glock told AUTOSPORT last month.

"The safety car makes it safe, anyway. The leader will never be happy about the safety car, it doesn't matter who it is, but that's how racing is.

"I don't see the point in doing all of this slow zone stuff, which could cause problems again of penalising drivers who are too late on the brakes and confusion for the fans in the grandstands.

"They want to see racing and action and that's what we show them."

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