The current season is just over but the preparations for the 2015 DTM season already are running flat out. So, Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz sent their teams to Jerez, Spain, for three days of joint testing. While working on the performances of the Audi RS 5 DTM, BMW M4 DTM and DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé vehicles, the teams covered a lot of testing kilometres. Involved in the tests were the majority of the current DTM drivers as well as quite a number of young top-class talents and drivers from other series. A glance at the attendance list demonstrates: there are racing seats available, in the most popular international touring-car series, and many drivers are keen on demonstrating that hey have got what it takes to deliver in DTM to possibly secure one of these coveted seats. The results, however, remain well-kept secrets of the teams: the lap times were of virtually no significance as the teams worked on different programmes.
At Audi, endurance-racing ace Laurens Vanthoor (BEL) was one of the testing guests. He switched from his Audi R8 LMS ultra behind the wheel of the Audi RS 5 DTM. In nice weather conditions with spring-like temperatures, the up-and-coming talents Alex Palou (ESP), Marco Mapelli (ITA), Dean Stoneman (GBR) as well as Nicki Thiim (DEN) also were offered testing chances. And FIA Formula 3 European Championship driver Antonio Giovinazzi (ITA) had been invited to gather experience in the DTM cockpit, too.
BMW took four BMW M4 DTM vehicles along to Jerez and also offered numerous rookies the chance of demonstrating their skills: Formula 3 European Vice Champion Tom Blomqvist (GBR) was one of them, just as his British compatriots Sam Bird, Jack Harvey and Alex Lynn. And just like Audi, BMW also offered an endurance-racing ace, Lucas Luhr, the chance of testing their DTM racer. Likewise involved for BMW were Formula 1 test driver Robin Frijns (NED) and WEC driver Richie Stanaway (NZL) who also added to the 1,735 laps, representing a total distance of 7,683 kilometres, completed by the Bavarian brand.
“It was a good test,” said DTM Champion Marco Wittmann, afterwards. “And it was nice to get back behind the wheel, after the six-week break and before the Christmas break begins. We completed a lot of laps to test several things and gather data that will be analysed in the off-season. We were fast – although the lap times are of minor importance, in the tests. You rather try to test several things – and we succeeded in completing our programme.”
Mercedes-Benz offered five drivers the chance of testing the DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé at Jerez. The FIA Formula 3 European Championship was represented by champion Esteban Ocon (FRA) and Felix Rosenqvist (SWE) as well as Austria’s Lucas Auer. For all the three, the DTM tests were the reward for their extraordinary achievements in the 2014 season. In addition, Maximilian Götz (GER) got the opportunity to switch from the endurance racer to the DTM touring-car. At the wheel of the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3, Götz won this year’s Blancpain Sprint Series title. Furthermore, Formula 1 test driver Charles Pic (Fra) also tested for Mercedes-Benz.
Following the tests, Toto Wolff, head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, concluded: “We are delighted with having been able to offer so many young and gifted drivers the opportunity to gather experience in our DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé. Charles, Esteban, Felix, Lucas and Maximilian all coped very well with their tasks. Our brand has successfully been promoting young motor-racing talents for many decades now. During the course of this time, many of these drivers succeeded in making it to Formula 1or DTM. The latest example is Pascal Wehrlein who celebrated his first DTM win, this year and was – in addition – was nominated as official test driver our Silver Arrow Formula 1 team.”