Jerez Test: All three brands on the same track for the first time
Aston Martin, Audi and BMW testing in Jerez
This week’s test session in Spain gave us the first opportunity to witness all three DTM manufacturer brands (Aston Martin, Audi and BMW) on track at the same time.
The three-day programme at Jerez de la Frontera in southern Spain offered teams and drivers their first chance this year to sample their new turbo-charged DTM cars. And the arrival of R-Motorsport’s Aston Martin entry, which enjoyed its very first miles on-track this week, further whetted our appetites for the year ahead.
Social media footage from the circuit already shows that this year’s breed of DTM car looks and sounds gloriously punchy. However, the sketchy weather in Jerez – the test was windy with intermittent rain showers across the first two days – meant it was harder for to get an accurate read on performance.
Nonetheless, all three manufacturers came away from the week in Spain feeling assured that they are on course.
Positive progress for BMW
“It is great fun to be involved in the development of a car like this,” admitted BMW’s Bruno Spengler, who, along with team-mate Timo Glock, took up the running for the Munich marque.
“You can see the progress that’s been made over the course of the winter tests. And even though the unsettled weather meant the conditions could have been better, we were able to work through many points on our test programme. We made further progress with the development of the car.”
Glock added: “The car lived up to all my expectations: you definitely feel the extra engine power and torque. The modifications to the aerodynamics mean the car behaves differently – and these are things we must adapt to, fine-tuning our driving style.”
Audi drivers left with smiles on their faces
Audi ran Nico Müller on the opening day before switching to 2017 DTM champion René Rast for the remainder of the week. DTM project manager Andreas Roos was satisfied with progress.
“Switching from a normally aspirated V8 to a four-cylinder turbo is such a big change,” he said. “Our engineers need to learn about lots of new parameters; the power delivery, torque, drivability – they’re all affected.
“For the drivers, too, it’s a different world – they’ve got more torque, more power. I think the biggest compliment I can give about the new engines is the fact that the drivers got out of the car after every run with a big smile on their faces! They can definitely feel the extra power and the increased speeds.”
Roos said that the mixed weather conditions in Jerez made predictions difficult, but felt that this year’s cars could be as much as three seconds per lap faster than the 2018 machinery when they arrive for the season opener at Hockenheim in May.
“And,” he added, “the fans needn’t worry about the sound: from the very first test we did last year, the engines were fantastic. They sound great and they’re going to make for a great show.”
@ Audi Communications Motorsport / Malte Christians
Aston Martin gets first run
For R-Motorsport team principal Florian Kamelger, the track debut of the Vantage DTM was a combination of pride and relief after the car’s intense 90-day build-programme.
The team spent time working on the drivability of the new HWA-designed turbo engine as the car was shaken down. On the first three days, DTM old hand Paul Di Resta drove the car before he handed over the testing duties to DTM rookie Jake Dennis.
“We’vestill got a lot of work ahead of us before the first race,” he admitted, “But we feel confident that we've got the basics of the car right. And Paul’s first impressions are promising.”
The 2019 DTM cars of all three brands will test for the next time at the Lausitzring in mid April. Fans are welcome to have a look for themselves – main stand section B will be opened admission free. The 2019 season kicks off at Hockenheim on May 4/5.