Focus on equal chances, safety, affordable costs
In the first two seasons of the DTM, the regulations have proven to be a reliable and above all sensible constant factor. Therefore, in the third year, the focus is once more on equal chances, safety and cost reduction. In order to achieve this, the ITR has, together with the DMSB, concentrated on small, but significant detail changes, finetuning. The basic fundament remains unchanged: all cars must have rear-wheel drive and be powered by a V8-engine with a displacement of four litres. Tyre partner Dunlop is suppying every team with equal tyres. The brake systems of the cars also remain equal, electronic driver aids like ABS and traction control are forbidden. New for 2002 is the fact that with Hewland, there is a second gearbox manufacturer in the DTM, next to X-Trac.
Because budgets rocketed in the old DTM (1984 till 1996), the ITR now concentrates on regulations that allow the manufacturers no experiments with expensive materials or the like. For instance, the use of beryllium, titanium and ceramic is forbidden and there are defined dimensions and weights for parts like pistons, con-rods and bearings. After all, technical knowledge is required from the drivers and the teams. Together, they have to explore the technical possibilities,m and then, it is up to the ability of the driver, to get the best out of his car.
Two engines per car per season
In the past winter, there have hardly been any changes on the engine front. After all, the durability of the DTM-engines has been proven in an impressive way in 2000 and 2001. There were hardly any engine failures. Two engines are being sealed for each car at the start of the season. These two identical power plants are being used alternately during the ten race week-ends. Valve cover and cylinder head as well as engine block and oil carter have to be attached to each other. This should prevent access to all moving parts within the engine block. Work can be done only on the oil and the water pump. The backlash of the valves may be checked twice during the season, but only in the presence of a technical delegate. The minimum weight of the engine is 165 kg. The angle between the two cylinder banks must be 90 degrees and the cylinder interval must be 102 mm. The camshafts will be operated by a chain.
Four-door saloons allowed as well from 2002
In order for a car to be allowed into the DTM, at least 10,000 cars of the respective road-going version have to be built within one year. The minimum lenght is 4.25 metres, the maximum length is 4.80 metres. Nothing has been changed there. New is, however, that from now, the use of four-door saloons is allowed as well. So far, only two-door coupes were allowed to race. In order to has the largest possible number of attractive cars in the DTM, in spite of a not really large market for coupes, and to allow further manufacturers to take part in the DTM, the ITR and the DMSB have decided to allow saloons as well. Following this rule change, a new rear wing with a double profile has been developed during wind tunnel tests. This should ensure that, in spite of the different silhouettes of coupes and saloons, a more or less identical airflow will be reached. Thus, the constructionbased differences are to be levelled - and the decisive DTM factor of equal chances will remain unaffected.
New tyres make cars faster
Like in the two previous seasons, the tyres are being exclusively supplied by Dunlop. During the winter, Dunlop has also worked hard to reach further improvement, together with the manufacturers. Goal: making the cars faster without laborious and costly engine-tuning. A new tyre has been developed. The front wheel is bigger and has a different construction and a new compound. Slicks and rain tyres now have the size 240/650R 18 at the front (so far: 235/640R 18) and 280/650R 18 at the rear. The latest generation of tyres provides more grip, but also has less durability. This means that the current mandatory pit stop will have more tactical significance.
Even more safety for the drivers
Once more, the DTM is setting new standards as far as safety is concerned. From 2002, the HANS device (Head and Neck Support) has been made mandatory for all the drivers. With HANS, the force on the neck of the drivers is significantly reduced, as the helmet is fixed to the safety belts on the shoulder. Initially developed at the Michigan University, Mercedes-Benz has continued this concept together with its inventor,Dr. Robert Hubbard.
HANS is based on a rigid, collar-shaped carbonfibre structure, which is fixed to the upper body and attached with latches to the race helmet. Thus, extreme acceleration of the head is prevented in the event of a crash. For instance, the driver's head can no longer hit the steering wheel or the side of the cockpit when a crash occurs.
By means of sensible fine-tuning, the ITR keeps the regulations stable. This also adds to stable and calculatable costs, like the defined standard parts. Every manufacturer has the ability to plan the next racing season in detail. He can develop a new car based on the current regulations, but he can also develop a car from the previous year accordingly.
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