DTM race at Brandshatch

A photo of a DTM Mercedes-Benz shooting flames on gear change

Flaming merc

Earlier in June Mark and I went to the UK round of the DTM at Brandshatch (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters, basically German Touring Car Championships). I guess you could say they are the equivalent of V8 supercars but for Germany. DTM a number of ex-F1 drivers such as Jean Alesi, Heinz-Harald Frentzen and F1 world champion Mika Hakkinen.

Brandshatch is an ex-F1 race circuit where the British GP was held from 1964 to ‘86. At first glance it looks like it’d be an unreal track to drive at cause it’s not flat like all the other race tracks. It’s full of uphill and downhill parts. The first corner is known as one of the scariest in the business as it drops away sharply to the right and looks like you’d have to take the corner almost blind as it drops quite a distance. You’ll see what I mean from the photos. It then heads up a hill to a midsize hairpin and then storms straight back down the hill for a left hander. There’s a bit of the straight then a large round u-turn which links back up to the main straight. The DTM ran on the short version of the track. Click here for a map of the track.

In the series there is only Audi and Mercedes (as Opel (GM) withdrew in 2004) but I guess that’s no different to Holden vs Ford in Oz. To lower the costs of racing there are many control components such as gearbox, tyres and brakes. As well as a car’s aero package is fixed for the whole year. They try to make the season as competitively matched as possible by giving weight ballasts to winners and previous years cars have a lower maximum weight.

A photo of the first corner at Brandshatch

1st corner rush

The cars are all four litre V8s that are air-restricted to 470HP. However these beasts are high-tech and like most euro cars, they dropped the prehistoric pushrods decades ago :) (ps. that joke is aimed at Iain from back home) It would be interesting to line them up against the V8s supercars from Oz. They have amazing aero-focused body kits with wide pumped guards, massive Terradactyl –like wings and various other aero related flaps. The noise they make is quite high pitch and not like the rumble of the Oz V8s but the noise is so loud that when I was standing between the between the hairpin surrounded by cars screaming it was almost too much for me without earplugs.

Unfortunately (or fortunately for the drivers) the cars came flying through the first corner without any issue but on the hairpin there was an incident resulting in two cars taking a trip to the beach. The rest of the race was incident free. There were a few heroic passes and all in all it was quite cool to watch them go around a good track like Brandshatch. We walked around pretty much most of the track and saw lots of action from many different vantage points. The race ended with some Audi driver wining and I think Hakkinen came third.

A photo of a Audi DTM race car

Audi DTM car

From all of the motorsport I’ve seen in person, F1, WRC, Oz V8s and DTM. V8s is probably still the most exciting to watch. But at the end of the day I probably enjoy watching more on TV because you know everything that is going on. This weekend, instead of actually going to the British F1, I’m going to see the F1 at the cinemas. The F1 boss has hooked up a deal with a cinema chain to show the race in high definition with surround sound and no commercials and not to forget a massive cinema screen! I can’t wait for this Sunday.

To see the photos from the race visit here:
http://www.gabnation.com/albums/2007/dtm/

Ps. I’ve been all over the F1 like a rash this year. Go Lewis Hamilton! I wrote him off from the start now I’m behind him all the way. It’s a whole lot easier to watch it here than in Oz as the races are during our day time not at crazy hours of the night. The season this year has been like any other in recent times. It makes for great races.

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