Show event instead of summer break. On July 16 and 17 racing fans can experience a highly special spectacle that has never existed like this before: At Munich’s Olympic stadium the DTM stars from Audi will compete against their rivals from Mercedes-Benz – in races featuring a knockout format and in their original cars from the current DTM season.
- Touring car series visits Munich’s Olympic Stadium
- Races featuring knockout format to be held on two days
- Audi drivers Albuquerque and Ekstrom with experience advantage
At the venue where the soccer teams of FC Bayern Munchen and 1860 Munchen held their home matches in the German “Bundesliga” until 2005 and that hosted the Olympic Summer Games in 1972 the roaring sounds of the near 470-hp V8 engines of the DTM race cars will be heard for the first time. For Martin Tomczyk, Timo Scheider & company the eagerly awaited DTM debut in Munich will not (yet) be about scoring championship points. But their ambition to win the prestigious race in front of their home audience is high.
The track that has been built at Munich’s Olympic stadium during the past few months is exactly 1.192 kilometers long. In April the grass was removed and the whole interior of the stadium covered with tarmac. At the beginning of June Audi racer Filipe Albuquerque at the wheel of the Audi A4 DTM had the opportunity to explore the circuit which at the time was still provisionally marked by traffic cones.
There was a good reason why one of the three rookies from Audi’s current DTM squad was chosen to do the reconnaissance run: Last year the Portuguese had won the “Race of Champions” in Dusseldorf that is also held at a sports arena and organized by the former Audi factory driver Michèle Mouton. In Dusseldorf Albuquerque defeated Formula One World Champion Sebastian Vettel, among others.
Another racer from Audi’s ranks has even won the “Race of Champions” three times: In 2006 Mattias Ekstrom triumphed at the Stade de France in Paris, in 2007 at London’s Wembley Stadium and in 2009 at the “Bird’s Nest” in Beijing where he defeated Michael Schumacher at the finale. That is why Albuquerque and Ekstrom know exactly what the fans can look forward to.
The DTM race in Munich, however, differs from the “Race of Champions” in many respects. In Munich the drivers are not racing on two separate tracks but on one and the same circuit. The start and finish are directly next to each other in the opposite direction so that the spectators can clearly see who is running in front at the end of each semi-lap.
In addition, the DTM stars will not be driving cars that have been determined by the drawing of lots but their own DTM race cars. And, last but not least, one pit stop, respectively, which must be performed by a maximum of six mechanics, is prescribed as of the quarter-final runs.
Therefore, in addition to the driving skills on the shortest and most winding race track in DTM history, the swift work of the pit crews will be crucial. This is not a disadvantage for Audi at all. At four of the five first races of the season Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline performed the quickest pit stop for which tire partner Hankook always presents the winning crew with an award.
It is clear though that aerodynamics and top speed – two fortes of the current Audi A4 DTM – will play no role at the Olympic Stadium. On the meandering track in Munich traction and good turn-in behavior will be particularly important.
At two free practice sessions on Friday the Audi drivers will have time to find the optimum setup for their cars. On Saturday the “race of marques” will be on the agenda at which the drivers of one brand will first compete against each other. Then, at the finale, the best Audi and the best Mercedes driver will determine the day’s winner at two rounds.
On Sunday the best eight drivers of each brand are eligible to run. As of the eighth-final Audi will be pitted against Mercedes-Benz in a knockout format.
The fans will get to see 16 of three to five laps each per day. In addition, there will be a prologue on Saturday and a half-hour warm-up on Sunday. An extensive supporting program will be offered as well – including commentaries by Atze Schroder and live music acts by Mando Diao, The Rattles and Kensingten Road. Tickets for the stands start selling at 29 euros.
ARD’s live broadcast on “Das Erste” on Sunday (July 17) will start with the quarter-final at 2 p.m. (local time). On Saturday ARD will also air one and a half hours of live coverage from Munich.