That’s how the fuel sample is checked in DTM
When searching for ways to increase the engine’s horsepower output, fuel can be a key factor but special power fuel usually is not only very expensive but also not exactly what you would call eco-friendly. Therefore, DTM has been racing with ARAL production fuel for many years, now. And to make sure that the teams comply with this rule, DMSB executes elaborate sample controls, on the race weekends.
In defined intervals, bigger quantities of the DTM fuel are stored. And at the latest on the Thursday prior to a race weekend, the necessary amount of fuel will be trucked to the respective paddock with a road tanker. Before the fuel is cleared for the teams it is controlled by DMSB. It takes several samples right out of the tanker that afterwards are heated to 300° C by dint of a gas-phase chromatograph. By doing so, DMSB creates a kind of a fingerprint of the fuel.
During the course of a race weekend, DMSB is free to demand one or even several fuel samples out of any racing car. These samples usually are taken after a practice session, qualifying session or race. The DTM regulations stipulate that the sample has to be taken right before the injection nozzles. By doing so it is made sure that cheating by feeding the engine with special fuel supplied by a forbidden extra tank is impossible. Right after the samples have been taken they are heated by dint of the gas-phase chromatograph. Afterwards, the fingerprints of the samples taken out of the racing car are compared with the ones taken our of the tank truck. Should all the samples match, the issue is history but should there be discrepancies, a B samples is analysed. Should this sample also differ from the truck samples, the stewards have to decide if the respective team has to penalised or not.
In the past 10 years, however, cheating with the fuel hasn’t been an issue, in DTM – for all we know, that is. But the case in a young-driver series demonstrates what teams are able to come up with to obtain an advantage: there, the scrutineers detected in the follow-up scrutineering that a car was equipped with two tanks. And while one of them was filled with a special power fuel, the other one contained the stipulated control fuel. And via a hidden switch, the latter was connected for the sample-taking procedure with the sample valve. The fraud only was detected because a mechanic had forgotten to disable the pump for the illegal fuel in time. One of the scrutineers became suspicious due to the buzzing noise, he therefore looked into the tank – and didn’t believe his eyes.