Opening day notes from DTM testing at the Nurburgring

Robert Kubica
Robert Kubica

The manufacturers in the DTM each had a fixed plan as they arrived at the Nurburgring for the four-day test session: configurations that were previously determined by means of simulations are meticulously compared to the actual handling of the car at the track. In the process, the engineers have to deal with a wide array of parameters, e.g.:

  • Shock absorber characteristics, spring and stabilizer rates
  • Kinematic options and their effects
  • Initial and final tire pressures
  • Toe and camber rates of the suspension options like e.g. increased camber when the spring is deflected
  • Gearbox settings and ratios
  • Differential settings like pre-load, friction plate pairs and ramp angles
  • Ratios related to circuit configurations and the torque curve of the engines
  • Pre-determined torque control of the engine electronics related to drivability and performance
  • Aerodynamics such as the ride height and the rear wing setting

Each change of one setting has its effect on the other elements. Therefore, an ideal harmony between engineers, mechanics and the race driver is required at the race track to allow for a precise validation of the simulation data and to be able to make better use of simulations at other race tracks. To this end, manufacturers have fixed schedules when arriving at the test days. Only accidents or unexpected weather conditions can upset these plans.

"HYLO" – the first visible novelty on the DTM cars
To prevent cars from getting airborne in case of high-speed spins or accidents, the DTM has introduced a so-called HYLO device for the 2020 season, an element that is designed to prevent a ‘High Yaw Lift-Off’. Yaw is the angle around the Z-axis of the vehicle. New rear wing mounts with an increased surface and a stronger profile have been designed to achieve a bigger recoil effect when the vehicle skids out.

"Natural instead of carbon fiber
For 2020, one DTM control part has been made of natural fiber rather than carbon fiber. The so-called ‘shoe box’ at the rear of the DTM cars is made of this new natural composite material. This comes with multiple positive effects: the reduced temperature required for the manufacturing process leads to a significant reduction of the CO2 emission of the raw material while the rigidity of the components is even higher and its splintering characteristics are enhanced – in particular for the exposed wearable parts at the two rear corners of the car, to prevent spreading of dangerous debris on the track in case of damage.

Quotes – DTM tests Nurburgring, Monday

“First of all, a big compliment to all those who have prepared such a safety concept to ensure that we can carry out official tests here. Super to get back into the garage, to smell the fuel. A super day, I found my way pretty well. We have finished our job list."

Philipp Eng, BMW

“The car handled well from the very beginning. That slightly surprised me. The track was in an excellent condition. We have tried many things and worked our way through our program pretty well."

Robin Frijns, Audi

“An exciting day on which I not only was allowed to get to know the Audi RS 5 DTM for the first time, but also worked with the WRT team for the first time. I was a bit nervous, but things went well."

Ferdinand Habsburg, Audi

“Nobody shows everything straight away during a test. Good that we are back in action. I was able to prepare well in terms of fitness. Still, you know what you have done after such a day. We were also lucky with the weather and we were able to rack up many laps."

Mike Rockenfeller, Audi

“Certainly, being back in the DTM car after six months is something special, but I immediately felt at home again. It is like riding your bike, you never lose that feeling."

Rene Rast, Audi

“Seeing the team and everybody at BMW again was simply good. It has been quite a while after all and we spent a lot of time in the simulator. Getting the real-life experience of speed again is a good feeling."

Sheldon van der Linde, BMW

“Of course, being back in the car is great fun. After all, the winter break was pretty long for all of us. Just great that we are back in action."

Marco Wittmann, BMW

“A nice day after not having been in a race car for such a long time. Certainly, we still have a few things that we can work on and where we can improve, but for an opening day, that was okay."

Fabio Scherer, Audi

“Being back at the race track, living the passion after the lockdown is something special. It will be my maiden season in the DTM and there are many things for me to learn: the car, the procedures."

Robert Kubica, BMW

Results – DTM tests Nurburgring, Monday

Results combined – morning and afternoon sessions
01. Philipp Eng (AUT), BMW M4 DTM, 1m 19.203s
02. Robin Frijns (NED), Audi RS 5 DTM, 1m 19.214s
03. Ferdinand von Habsburg (AUT), Audi RS 5 DTM, 1m 19.311s
04. Mike Rockenfeller (GER), Audi RS 5 DTM, 1m 19.359s
05. Rene Rast (GER), Audi RS 5 DTM, 1m 19.406s
06. Sheldon van der Linde (RSA), BMW M4 DTM, 1m 19.511s
07. Marco Wittmann (GER), BMW M4 DTM, 1m 19.890s
08. Fabio Scherer (SUI), Audi RS 5 DTM, 1m 20.117s
09. Robert Kubica (POL), Audi RS 5 DTM, 1m 20.519s

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