New rules to make racing closer than ever

Next year's DTM racing will be closer than ever, according to the man behind the championship's new technical regulations

New rules to make racing closer than ever

Series organisers ITR have tweaked the rulebook so that Mercedes's CLK and Opel's Coupe will now run an identical wheelbase and front and rear overhangs, which should equalise the aerodynamic potential of the cars. In effect, the bottom of both cars, from the undertray to a mark 275mm up the sides, will be identical.

The Abt Audi squad, however, has got the special agreement it has been seeking. It can extend its wheelbase and overhangs, too - despite the fact its TT-R doesn't actually fit the rules in the first place.

"We wanted to get the field closer," said the ITR's technical expert Michael Bernard. "The cars are already very close, especially on the mechanical side, so it is very important that the aerodynamics are equal too. We put an Audi, an Opel and a Mercedes in the wind tunnel and changed everything possible. We came up with a solution which means they are all very similar - as close as we could make them."

Opel and Mercedes will run to a wheelbase of 2700mm, while the Audi will be slightly shorter at 2600mm. Overhangs front and rear will now be set at 900mm, while rear wing and height dimensions have also been set in stone.

In the case of the Abt Audi, the actual shape of the car will have to change to meet the new regulations - another dispensation which has been granted to the Kempten-based privateers.

"We have allowed them to make the rear of the car longer by 200mm," said Bernard. "If they changed to the new wheelbase size with the old cars, the wheels would stick out of the body!"

The bodywork and dimensional regulations are just part of the new regulations, which are all aimed at trimming costs.

Testing will now take place on Friday afternoons. Teams will be given nine sets of tyres for a race weekend, but will have to give back three after testing.

Every car will be fitted with a control Bosch ECU unit, to ease the policing of the black art of electronics.

Each car will be allowed two engines for the season. Last year, teams were able to use one engine for testing and one for racing. Now they will nominate two sealed units, which they can swap only between race weekends. Although not yet decided, the series organisers will probably reserve the right to choose which engine each car starts the season with, and to make each team alternate the engines between rounds.

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