30 Years of Partnership between the DTM and DEKRA
The DTM starts its new season with the first race in Hockenheim on the first weekend in May. There was already a first locking of horns about three weeks ago at the DEKRA Lausitzring in southern Brandenburg, where the official ITR test was held this year. This is particularly appropriate for the start of the 2019 season: The DTM and DEKRA are connected by a partnership that has now endured for 30 years.
“For decades, the DEKRA experts have played a very important role when it comes to safety and equality of opportunity in the DTM,” says Gerhard Berger, CEO of the DTM umbrella organization ITR. “As technical experts, they monitor compliance with the regulations in partnership with the DMSB and were also involved with their expertise in the development of the technical regulations. In short, they do a very professional job. For this reason, in addition to its long-term role as a series sponsor, DEKRA is an extremely valuable partner for the DTM.”
The beginnings of the technical approval by DEKRA in the DTM in 1989 are barely comparable with what the experts do today on the race weekends. When a direct comparison is made, the constant professionalism is more than evident. “While at the beginning an individual colleague worked with straightforward equipment in a small tent behind the measuring plate, today we are on site with a 9-strong team of specialists,” explains DEKRA Motorsports Coordinator Wolfgang Dammert. “Most of the colleagues come out of the DEKRA Technology Center at the Lausitzring and even in their everyday work outside of motorsports – for example, in the testing of driving dynamics, exhaust, and other things – they are occupied with solving automotive issues.”
When it comes to the equipment, much has also change in the last three decades. Today, the DEKRA experts come to the races with a semitrailer, which is full of high tech and is simultaneously the office and control station for the work of the technical inspectors. The highly sensitive 3D measuring arm, with which in particular the tolerances in the regulations for the bodies of the racing vehicles as well as the positions of standard components are monitored, has been indispensable for the last few years.
In the 30 years, there has never been any downtime. “Each new race season, each change in the regulations has repeatedly brought new challenges with it, including in the technical approval,” remembers Dammert. “We face these challenges with full commitment - this season as well, of course.” Thus, in 2019 - with a view to the new technical regulations and the associated internationalization of the DTM - there is special focus on the new four-cylinder turbo engines and monitoring their performance. “For us, this means that more engine data must be read and monitored,” says the DEKRA Motorsports Coordinator. “However, we are well prepared and we are pleased that things are starting up again.”
Overall, the partnership between the DTM and DEKRA has two central objectives: First and foremost, the safety of all involved, and also equality of opportunity for all participants. The current safety concept of the race series with the monocoque as the central safety element as well as the front, rear, and side crash elements was developed and implemented with the support of DEKRA. All the static and dynamic tests for development and homologation were performed at DEKRA in the FIA and DMSB-accredited inspection and test centers. Thanks to the joint efforts, serious accident consequences have been avoided in the last few years.
“The DTM is the premium touring car racing series in Europe and is therefore an optimal platform for us. Here we can contribute and present our know how and our core expertise as one of the world’s leading expert organizations,” says DEKRA Executive Board member Clemens Klinke. “We can be very proud of the fact that we have made a significant contribution to safety and to fair competition in the DTM for the last 30 years. Especially since solutions from motorsports repeatedly impact on the development of series cars and thus on road safety in our everyday lives.”