Why the DTM used to be better

ER Classics Desktop 2022

Last weekend there was racing at Zandvoort, but in the past the DTM was better, better, more fun and cooler. The reason is simple.

The Deutsche Tourenwagen-Meisterschaft existed from 1984 to 1995. The championship was the direct successor to the Deutsche Rennsport-Meisterschaft, which existed from 1972. It was a real touring car championship, with cars like the Rover Vitesse, BMW 635 CSi and Volvo 240 Turbo appearing at the start. The starting fields were crowded; in 1988 at the last race of the season, at Hockenheim, no less than 46 cars appeared at the start. However, that number declined rapidly, because once the manufacturers had made their appearance, the costs rose enormously. That meant that 1992 cars were still taking part in the last race of 27 - barely more than half of four years earlier.

Production cars

BMW started with fast M3s, Mercedes had fast versions of the 190, while Audi started with the V8. The latter was with its 3,6 liter V8 and four-wheel drive totally different than the rear-wheel drive BMWs and Mercedes with 2,5 liter four-cylinder, but there was a big deal: the cars were based on cars that you could buy at the dealer around the corner. The costs nevertheless increased enormously, and that caused the DTM to cease to exist in the mid-'90. The costs of keeping a DTM team up and running were now comparable to those of a Formula 1 team.

Uniform sausage

After an absence of a few years, the championship in 2000 returns under the name Deutsche Tourenwagen-Masters, although since 2005 only the name DTM is used; it is therefore no longer an abbreviation. The intention this time is to keep costs considerably lower. Anyone who has seen the hospitality units at Zandvoort last weekend can hardly imagine that this is the case. The competition nowadays goes between Audi, BMW and Mercedes. However, the cars are no longer cars as you find them at the dealer. On the contrary, they have nothing to do with that anymore.
All cars have a carbon monocoque with a steel roll cage. In addition, it is mandatory to use a V8 with an angle of 90 degrees, in combination with rear-wheel drive. Anyone who asks for an RS5 with rear-wheel drive at an Audi dealer comes home from a cold fair. If you try to order an M4 with a V8 at the BMW dealer, it will not take place. And if you ask the Mercedes dealer for a C 63 AMG with carbon monocoque, he probably looks at you with a glassy eye.

That is why the DTM was so much better in the years '80 and' 90: a real touring car championship with real cars. A taxi ride in an E30 M3 DTM confirmed that: an engine that can handle 9.200 revolutions, a car that slides and slides - that's racing. Much nicer than that new DTM unit sausage. Dear DTM, can we have such a championship as before?

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