Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters
The ITC era, a large proportion of the revenue generated by the championship went to the FIA, with the result that less went to the teams who subsequently complained of little return on their increasingly large investment in the high-tech series. Since 1997, many ideas were discussed in order to find a compromise for rules of a new DTM. Opel put the main emphasis on cost control, Mercedes supported expensive competitiveness in development, BMW wanted an international series rather than one focussed on Germany only, while Audi insisted on allowing their trademark quattro four wheel drive (despite running the rear wheel drive Audi R8 in sports car racing).
The DTM returned in 2000 as Mercedes and Opel had agreed to use cars that were based on the concept car that was shown by Opel on various occasions, eg. the 1999 24 Hours Nürburgring were Opel celebrated its 100th anniversary. The series adopted the format of the 1995 championship, with most rounds held in Germany with occasional rounds throughout Europe, but having learnt the lessons of the ITC disaster the ITR constantly strived to keep costs in the series from exploding to unreasonable levels, and to keep the championship firmly tied to its German roots. As too many races were planned outside Germany, no Championship (Meisterschaft) status was granted by DMSB, and the DTM initials now stand for Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (German Touring Car Masters).
The cars are supposed to be fast and spectacular, while still rather cheap to build and run. All DTM race cars have RWD and 4 L V8 engines which are air-restricted to 470hp, no matter if similar layouts or engines are available in the road cars. Instead of the road car bodies, unrelated purpose-built chassis are used, which are closer to prototype racing. Many drivers have in fact described the handling of the cars as closer to single seater racing cars than road cars. Only the roof sections of the road cars are put on top of the roll cages, and lights and other distinctive design features are used in order to provide a resemblance to the road cars. Also, in order to save money and provide close racing, many common parts from third party specialist are used, like transmission (from Hewland and Xtrac), brakes and Dunlop Tires. The all-important aerodynamic configurations are tested in wind tunnels before the season, brought to an equal level, and kept that way throughout the season.
Alfa Romeo, who at the time were mounting successful campaigns in the European Touring Car Championship, did not return to the series. BMW was also involved in the ETCC and was not satisfied with a championship only for Germany. Audi did not enter as they insisted on using their signature quattro AWD.
Unlike the previous incarnation which primarily used sedan models like the Mercedes-Benz W201, the new DTM featured only 2-door coupés. Opel used the upcoming Coupé version of the Astra as in the concept car, and Mercedes the CLK model which already was used as a pattern for the Mercedes-Benz CLK-GTR.
Attempts of Zakspeed to enter with a car looking like a Volvo C70 were not approved, but Bavarian-based private team Abt Sportsline was allowed to enter on short notice. The 1999 STW-Supertouring-champion Christian Abt could not defend his STW title as this series was also discontinued, with Opel moving into DTM. Abt used the Audi TT as a basis, as Audi had no suitable 2-door coupé, even though the dimensions of this car did not fit into the rules.
For more information why not visit www.dtm.de.