Internationalisation of DTM “key” for Aston Martin, with a change of name on the cards

Dr. Florian Kamelger, the founder and co-owner of AF Racing, has admitted that the efforts to raise the international profile of the series was an important factor in the new Aston Martin DTM programme came to fruition.

AF Racing will work alongside HWA to develop a DTM version of the Vantage for an entry into the series next year, with the plans having the blessing of Aston Martin rather than being a full factory programme.

“Internationalisation was one of the main reasons why Aston Martin entered the series, which was one of the main negotiation points with ITR,” said Kamelger. “I have to say that, in this respect, DTM has done a great job in the last couple of months to go in this direction and it’s very important to not just work in the same market that we are know, but rather go further. Japan, for instance, it’s a big market for high quality motorsport and fans and it’s also a key market for Aston Martin.”

Gerhard Berger has keenly worked on the internationalisation of the DTM since his appointment as head of series promoter ITR, with a special emphasis on finalising the Class One regulations, also to be adopted by the Japanese Super GT in 2020 within the framework of their cooperation.

“We are very keen on continuing with the internationalisation of the series,” added Berger. “A part of it is the development of the car, you can race in Germany, or in Asia. The base of it is to have regulations set in different continents in the same way because it’s the only manner in which manufacturers can participate in the competition without strong development budgets.

“So once the car is developed with these regulations, then you can see where you bring your cars, where are your important markets. It was clear that we had to convince our existing partners in Japan who are already racing close to our regulations to develop them and bring them together step by step.

“This was a 12-month process of negotiations, and the difficulty wasn’t the readiness, it was that you are facing a different racing culture. We have a sprint format, whilst they have long distance endurance racing. So we made a couple of compromises, but, as we saw at the Norisring, we finally reached a common international regulation which we named Class One. It’s a process that’s still going on, but we are close to saying that we can go to different continents with the same car and that’s the base for everything, which will be fully ready in 2020, but we will be 85% there in 2019.

“Another important reason for an international common regulation is to include other brands from outside Germany. Aston Martin is a luxury brand, it’s the first brand coming from outside Germany, so in this regard we have also made another step forward.”

The effort to make the series more international, with four rounds of the 2019 calendar outside of Germany, could imply a change of name for the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters.

“I think that we really are on a good path towards making the DTM more international, especially with the final agreement on the Class One regulations,” BMW Motorsport boss Jens Marquardt said to TouringCarTimes.

“We have a really internationally balance calendar now, and that is a step forward. But, for instance, I’m really happy that we went back to the UK and raced there but, if I were to ask my people there what would they change in the DTM to market it better, the ‘D’ would be one of the first things to come up, and that’s in the UK and in other places outside Germany.

“So we have to go back to work with ITR. On one side, we have an established brand in ‘DTM’, but you also have to move into the future, and the future is more international. We have to work together and, if we want to attract other manufacturers from outside Germany, I think also for them could be interesting to have less of the ‘D’. Because I was once also on the other side of the fence and there were a lot of discussions about that it was too German, what about the non-German speaking, the DMSB is the ruling body, all the discussions about the regulations and that were done in German.

“We’ve moved a bit from that, we have quite a lot of international people in the teams and I think we have to work together on to get DTM to the future. For instance, we at BMW created the ‘BMWi’ brand for our e-mobility solutions, so we don’t move from BMW, but we show where we are heading for the future. So we need to get together with ITR and some professionals, see where we see DTM heading for the future and see whether this will also affect the name.”