For the first time, the series conducted its important final pre-season test at the Brandenburg circuit, located between Berlin and Dresden. Across the four-day session, all 18 DTM drivers from the series’ three manufacturer brands, Aston Martin, Audi and BMW, put miles on their cars, eventually rattling off an incredible 3,921 laps between Monday and Thursday.
Audi, which finished the test with the fastest overall lap-time (Robin Frijns’ 1m35.169s, on Wednesday), was represented by nine cars: the test car from Audi Sport, two chassis apiece for the Abt Sportsline, Rosberg and Phoenix teams, and a sole Audi RS5 DTM for new customer operation WRT.
BMW finished the test with the sixth-fastest overall time (a 1m35.884s for Joel Eriksson), running three BMW M4 DTM chassis for its six factory drivers.
Official Aston Martin team R-Motorsport ran two Aston Martin Vantage DTMs for its four drivers, setting a ninth-fastest time of 1m36.345s with Jake Dennis behind the wheel.
Turbo package already two seconds per lap faster
Frijns’ best time of the week was more than two seconds faster than last year’s quickest qualifying lap (Lucas Audi’s 1m37.343s) underlining the potency of the new-for-2019 four-cylinder turbo-charged engines. The new units produce around 100hp more than last season’s naturally aspirated V8s, with a predicted output of around 610bhp. Coupled to a 45kg lowering of the minimum weight (down to 986kg), fans can look forward to the fastest DTM ever in 2019.
On Thursday, Belgian privateer Audi outfit WRT confirmed the identity of its second driver, confirming that Pietro Fittipaldi would join South African Jonathan Aberdeen after a successful two-day test in the car. The Brazilian, grandson of two-time F1 world champion Emerson Fittipaldi, impressed immediately, despite only driving the car for the first time on Tuesday.
The sports chiefs were satisfied after the four-day mammoth program.
Head of Audi Motorsport, Dieter Gass, said: “We’re generally very content and we’ve learned a lot. Obviously, the results should not be overrated. Experience has shown that no-one puts all their cards on the table in pre-season testing. Even so, it’s nice to see all your cars at the top of the time sheets. Due to the modified cars and the new turbo engines we had slightly more work than we normally do before a season, but we can still be happy on the whole. We’ll only know at Hockenheim where we truly stand. It’s going to be extremely exciting.”
BMW Motorsport director Jens Marquardt said: “That was a very intense final test for our teams and drivers – a big thank-you to our mechanics and engineers who have worked long and hard throughout this tough week of running. So much of these 2019 cars is completely new, and we’re gaining experience with every lap we get under our belts. The first two days didn’t go exactly as planned, but the entire team – including the drivers – rallied hard and refused to let it unsettle them. We then completed a lot of laps on Wednesday and Thursday, and gained a better understanding of the car as a whole. In that sense, we’ve made big progress. Now we head to Hockenheim. As always, those first qualifying sessions and races will give us a true indication of where we are. We’re really looking forward to the start of the season.”
Dr. Florian Kamelger, team principal of R-Motorsport Aston Martin, added:
“During the four test days at the Lausitzring, the many long runs amounting to a total of 3,610.3 kilometres provided us with valuable insights for the further development of our Aston Martin Vantage DTM. As usual in such tests, we were able to identify and eliminate a few faults. We are very satisfied with the consistency in lap times we have achieved, bearing in mind that weren’t attempting to set fast times.”
Advance ticket booking at DTM.com
Advance ticket booking for all 2019 DTM race meetings can be done quickly and easily via the official DTM website: www.DTM.com/tickets.
Press release DTM