DTM cars 'two or three seconds a lap faster' in 2019
Audi DTM driver Mike Rockenfeller is predicting a lap time gain of around two to three seconds in 2019 thanks to the new cars which will feature more than 600 horsepower, courtesy of a new four-cylinder turbo engine and a top speed of around 300km/h.
The German touring car series issued new technical regulations for 2019 which sees the old eight-cylinder engine replaced by a smaller four-cylinder unit with a turbocharger, plus revised aerodynamics aimed at reducing downforce and boosting top speeds.
Initial testing by Audi and BMW have shown an increase of more than 100hp from the new engine and Rockenfeller reckons that, combined with the other changes, will see lap times drop quite dramatically.
"Depending on the track, the lap times will be two or three seconds faster than before," said the 2013 champion.
"You approach the turns quicker and the braking phases become a little longer. We pass the straights faster because we’re driving at higher speeds – maybe at more than 300km/h for the first time!
"That would be fantastic and should definitely be possible with DRS and some slipstreaming."
Rockenfeller described the changes as the biggest he's seen in the series since joining back in 2007 and said it's a "very exciting" time to be involved.
"Surely the biggest difference is the four-cylinder turbo, which clearly has a higher power output. At the same time, our new car has more efficient aerodynamics. That’ll make us a lot faster on the straights.
"All in all, it’s the biggest change that I’ve seen in DTM. Being involved in it is very exciting. I’ve been driving with eight cylinders now for twelve years and am looking forward to something new. Plus, more power is always more fun.
"I’m happy that we’re making this move. It’s a huge step for the DTM and I’m extremely eager to see how the first race of the new DTM era will go.
"With Aston Martin joining, there’ll be a new brand and new faces as well. And the first joint race with the Japanese Super GT is planned. I’m sure the 2019 DTM will be mega thrilling."