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German touring cars: the hottest DTM racers of all time

Wolfgang Wilhelm
German touring cars
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D he grandstands were full, the duels were tough and the cars looked good Still very similar to their brothers on the road - welcome to the glory days of the DTM. Real men were still at work here. Men like Klaus Ludwig, Hans-Joachim Stuck, Joachim Winkelhock, Kurt Thiim or Johnny Cecotto.

The popularity of the DTM rises rapidly

Between 1984 and in 1995 the German touring car scene experienced an unprecedented rise and, unfortunately, its decline in the end. At the beginning there was an even better amateur series under the name 'German Production Car Championship'. The media broadcast worldwide, the sponsors stand in line and the daring drivers become celebrated stars.

The DTM stage, as the series was called from 1989, has also become more and more interesting for car manufacturers. With investments of millions, the great works try to buy victories. The driver's fees increase with the degree of professionalization. Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Opel, Alfa-Romeo and Ford fought exciting duels on the slopes from Brazil to South Africa. However, the highlights of the season will be in Germany - in the jungle of guardrails of the Berlin Avus, the Norisring and on the Nordschleife.

Manufacturers determine the business

With the commitment of the plants, private teams are being pushed more and more to the edge. While exotic cars such as Chevrolet Camaros or Ford Mustangs were at the start in the first few years, the fields of drivers will soon become much more uniform. The pressure increases with the investments. The manufacturers are arguing about the regulations, turbo engines and all-wheel drive. In the end, the cars are bred up to 500 hp before the DTM is dissolved with the withdrawal of BMW and Audi after the 1996 season.

With offshoots such as ITC, STW or the GT World Championship, the big corporations are looking for others Playgrounds. However, the old spirit of the DTM can no longer be revived. The new DTM, which was launched in 2000, cannot build on the old days either. Although the costs are reduced thanks to the common parts strategy and the power density is kept tight, the cult status of earlier days is still a long way off even after ten years.

Audi and Mercedes keep DTM alive

The fans' criticism: Audi and Mercedes are simply too fewBrands at the start. Only in 2012 did a third manufacturer announce itself with BMW. The old DTM fans also criticize the modern cars. The current generation drives with sophisticated prototypes that look and sound good, but that are far too sensitive to enemy contact. In addition, in recent years there have been repeated arguments between the two brands over stable management and unfair driving. However, the bitter duel between stars and rings is certainly what makes the series so appealing.

Despite all the problems, the star-studded championship is still the most popular touring car series in Germany, with millions of people watching race after race in front of the screens lures. 2012 could be another big new beginning with BMW and a new set of regulations, which might bring back a bit of the old glory. Until then, we've put together the hottest touring cars from the last 25 years for you in a large photo show.


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