Kelvin van der Linde has dismissed the idea that GT3 specialists will have an advantage over other drivers in the revamped DTM series, which kicks off this weekend in Monza.
The German series is kicking off the first season under GT3 regulations at the Italian circuit, completing its major regulation shift that was kickstarted by Audi’s departure from the series at the end of the 2020 campaign.
Instead, the championship adopted a ruleset based on the global FIA GT3 regulations. As a result, it has attracted a diverse field of drivers. Some, like Van der Linde, come from a GT3 background, while others come from the more traditional DTM background and the Class One ruleset it had adopted over the last few years.
Some have suggested that drivers like Van der Linde, who has raced a large number of endurance races in Audi’s GT3 machinery, will have an advantage going into the season due to the familiarity they have with GT3 cars.
Van der Linde, however, disagrees as he explained ahead of the season opener.
“I have to laugh every time I hear it, because I hear it a lot from my team as well at the moment,” he said.
“You don’t make it into DTM if you are not a world class driver. All the guys, Timo, Mike [Rockenfeller], all the ex-DTM drivers, and even my brother [Sheldon, driving for Rowe Racing] is trying to play it down.
“I think they are all world class drivers, they are going to be on the pace at Monza, I’m one hundred percent sure about that and they are going to put on a good fight.”
“For sure on paper it looks good for us, I’m not going to lie. But at the end of the day it’s still racing, it’s got four wheels, it’s got a steering wheel. So yeah, grow some balls and go for it boys.”
While Van der Linde is adamant that the advantage for more GT3-based drivers does not exist, not everybody agrees. Timo Glock, a driver from a Class One-background and with limited GT3 experience, was also on the pre-race press conference and voiced a different opinion.
“Even Kelvin is not really agreeing with it, but I think there is still an advantage for the drivers who are used to GT3 cars because they know it blindly, they know what they have to do,” Glock said. “For me it’s still a learning process, how far I can go, where is the limit in terms of ABS braking and stuff like this, traction control.
“With the short amount of time we have, 45 minutes on Friday, free practice sessions are of 45 minutes, it’s not much. But again it’s a learning process and at the end we are going to find a way to get up to speed.”