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Spectacular DTM racers make a revolutionary return this May!

Tuesday, April 24 2012

The spectacular DTM German Touring Cars return to Brands Hatch this May (18-20). Regulars Audi and Mercedes-Benz have sleek new coupés to replace the previous saloon racers and will be joined this year by series returnees BMW, for an intense battle between Germany's big three manufacturers.

The stunning new cars have been built to regulations aimed at improving the racing, with semi-automatic gearboxes, bigger fuel tanks that will last the full race, and reprofiled wings. Combined with a wider Druids hairpin at the circuit designed to encourage more overtaking, the racing will be even closer in 2012!

Heading up the Ingolstadt marque in the Audi A5 will be former champions Mattias Ekstrom and Timo Scheider but whilst they have two titles each, the series' most successful active driver is 2005 champion Gary Paffett from Bromley, with 17 wins to his name heading into the opening round at Hockenheim this weekend. When he's not racing for Mercedes, Paffett can also be found assisting Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton in Formula 1 as the McLaren team's test driver.

Paffett's reputation as the series' best British driver will come under threat from touring car legend Andy Priaulx, who will be racing one of the new BMW M3s. The triple World Touring Car Champion, who also holds a European Touring Car title, is joined by reigning DTM champion Martin Tomczyk and 2011 runner-up Bruno Spengler, who also finished second behind F1 driver Paul Di Resta the previous year.

DCThe Mercedes-Benz team will be fielding several British drivers in addition to Paffett, including DTM race winner Jamie Green and Susie Wolff, who was recently announced as an F1 test driver for Williams. However their most prestigious name is former Grand Prix winner and BBC F1 commentator David Coulthard, who embarks upon his third season of DTM competition.

With all drivers racing brand new machinery, this year will be David's first in a contemporary car and he is raring to go: "I'm really looking forward to racing the new generation Mercedes AMG DTM C-Coupé at Hockenheim and with everyone in Mercedes having the same equipment this year, it will be great to see how we all compare. With two years of DTM experience, and a fantastic relationship with Mercedes, I'm highly confident for the season ahead. Audi are sure to be strong and you can't discount BMW, even after a long absence from the series."

Coulthard isn't intimidated by the additional pressure placed on him by having the same equipment as the front runners, but agrees that racing in front of his home fans earlier in the season will spur him on. "I'll have the family there and you're always aware of the home crowd, especially around the Indy circuit," he reasoned. "It's a track that I have good knowledge of from my early days racing cars, however DTM has raced here for the last six years, so the other drivers will be just as tough to beat."

In the clip below, DC explains the new DTM regulations:

Tickets for DTM at Brands Hatch are on sale from £29, with free admission for children aged 12 and under. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click here.