The DTM is back – and it’s faster and more powerful than ever. Featuring new cars, new engines, a new manufacturer and new circuits, it’s the beginning of a new era in the German touring car championship this year. BMW’s Joel Eriksson is eagerly anticipating his second season in the series, which kicks off – as tradition bids – at Hockenheim this weekend.
“I’m extremely keen to finally get back to racing,” says 20-year-old Eriksson. “I’ve been waiting for this moment for months and, especially this year with all the new elements that come into play, I’m sure we’re in for a crazy and exciting season. It’s a new era for DTM and hopefully I can bring some colour to it.”
The future is turbo-charged
The main talking point ahead of the 2019 season is the new engine regulations, which see the old V8 powerplants make way for more efficient two-litre, four-cylinder turbo engines. Boosting power output by roughly 100 bhp to a figure of 610, it combines with a remodelled lighter chassis to create the fastest formula in DTM history; lap times are expected to fall by about three seconds compared to last year.
The aerodynamic package, meanwhile, has also been revised with the aim of decreasing downforce and reducing drag. This aims to improve racing by making cars less sensitive to turbulent air, allowing them to run closer to each other out on track.
Added to that, a brand new push-to-pass system has been introduced that temporarily increases engine power further for short periods of time, designed to promote overtaking.
“These new rules should be great for the racing,” says Joel Eriksson. “It also means that we have to adapt our driving styles quite a lot. We have much more power than last year but we’re keeping the exact same tyres, so they will have to withstand more torque and stress. It will be key to look after them in the races, especially the rears.
“The starts will be another area where the new rules change everything. The drivers will have more to think about this year, but as for me, I’ve had a really good feeling in the car during pre-season testing.”
BMW vs. Audi vs. Aston Martin
Joel Eriksson debuted in the DTM last year, winning one race at Misano (Italy) to become the second-youngest race winner of all time. In 2019, Eriksson and BMW recommence their rivalry with long-time DTM opponent Audi, but will also face fresh opposition from newcomer Aston Martin.
Five DTM champions grace the grid this season: Marco Wittmann and Bruno Spengler for BMW, René Rast and Mike Rockenfeller for Audi, and Paul di Resta for Aston Martin.
In total, the field spans 18 drivers, out of which five will be making their debuts at Hockenheim this weekend. Among the new kids on the block are Eriksson’s new BMW team-mate Sheldon van der Linde, as well as Audi’s Pietro Fittipaldi – the grandson of Formula 1 legend Emerson Fittipaldi.
Live streaming of all sessions
Just like last year, all DTM sessions will be streamed in real time at www.dtm.com/live again this season. In a slight change to the event structure, though, free practice is now wholly staged on Fridays, freeing up Saturday and Sunday exclusively for qualifying and race doubles. The season-opening Hockenheim races both go green at 13.30 local time.
Joel Eriksson’s BMW M4 DTM once again carries the #47 in 2019.
DTM | Round 1/9
Friday 3 May
Free Practice 1: 13.10-13.55
Free Practice 2: 16.30-17.00
Saturday 4 May
Qualifying 1: 10.30-10.50
Race 1: 13.30-14.30
Sunday 5 May
Qualifying 2: 10.45-11.05
Race 2: 13.30-14.30