Europe's fastest touring car series, DTM, is back at Brands. Catch BMW versus Audi versus Merc for the last time on UK soil

FOR THE FIRST  time ever, DTM cars from Mercedes, Audi and BMW will tear around Brands Hatch’s full GP circuit this summer. But it will also be the last time, as

Mercedes is pulling out of DTM at the end of 2018 in favour of Formula E, so expect plenty of drivers to be showcasing their skills as they try to line up a drive for next year.
It’s a mouth-watering prospect - despite recent rule changes, the uber-fast saloons still use colossal amounts of aero, and quick corners such as Hawthorn, Westfield, Dingle Dell and Stirlings will be a riot of high-speed barging.

There’s British interest too, as the series is led by former McLaren F1 test driver and 2005 DTM champ Gary Paffett in his Merc-AMG C63.
Another Brit, ex-F1 driver Paul di Resta, is only 12 points behind (he’s also in a Mercedes-AMG).

If you haven’t seen Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters lately, the formula is much the same as ever: road car silhouette with aero everywhere, race car underneath. Although only three manufacturers compete these days, competition is frenzied as there’s a full grid of 18 cars, six from each manufacturer, and drivers from many nations.

It’s a German-based series, but half of the 2018 season’s rounds are elsewhere in Europe. DTM’s last spell in the UK was at the Brands Indy circuit
between 2006 and 2013.

All the cars must use naturally-aspirated V8s displacing up to 4.0 litres and making around Soobhp. To keep things tight, there are plenty of control parts - including wheels, suspension components, the ECU and Hankook tyres - and like F1, the cars use DRS to get a burst of increased top speed for overtaking.

The Brands races are on August 11 and 12 (one on each day). Each lasts 55 minutes plus one lap, and the cars need at least one pitstop to change tyres. This in itself can be dramatic - at a slippery Hungaroring round in June, Mercedes driver Lucas Auer hit three marshals, Bruno Spengler ran into his own mechanics, and Edoardo Mortara smashed into his Mercedes pit gantry.

Wittmann won for BMW in 2014 and 2016 but the new M4 introduced in 2017 struggled to maintain that form - the top M4 last year was fifth overall.


This version has been around since 2013, but updates have kept it at the front - in 2017 RS5s took the top four slots, although it's not so dominant this year.


Despite 2017's heavily revamped car getting the 2018 season off to a storming start, Merc won't change its mind: it's out at the end of the year.

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