New DTM bodywork causing Mercedes problems under series rules

Mercedes' new C63 DTM car for 2016 provides more problems than the scope to make gains, its boss Ulrich Fritz admits

New DTM bodywork causing Mercedes problems under series rules

The series' technical regulations are currently frozen as part of cost control measures agreed between Audi, BMW and Mercedes.

DTM overhauls performance weights for 2016 season

When a brand introduces a new car, changes can only be made above a horizontal 'design line' around the perimeter, essentially at the height of the bottom of the doors and top of the wheel arches.

While Audi and BMW are sticking with their existing RS5 and M4 models, Mercedes is introducing new bodywork to match its latest AMG C63 Coupe road car, complicating its established aerodynamic package.

"Whilst the car has really changed visually, we were not allowed to improve any of the performance-relevant aerodynamic parts below what is called the design line," Fritz said.

"The challenge for us now is to combine the aerodynamics of the old car with the shape of the new car.

"It is a simple fact that DTM race cars are always based on current production models, so we tweaked the design.

"The car now looks really great, but it also presents us with one or two more problems that currently need solving."

As Mercedes gets up to speed with its new package, Audi and BMW both topped two days of the DTM's only official pre-season test at Hockenheim earlier this month, ahead of the venue's season opener on May 6-8.

Its best performance came in the final session, when 2005 champion Gary Paffett set the third-fastest time, 0.148 seconds off top spot.

"I think we are on the right track," Fritz added.

"What will be crucial is how quickly we can find the right set-up for our car.

"Our competitors certainly have an advantage in that respect.

"Nothing has changed for them on their cars, so they can totally rely on their experience from the last few years."

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