- Touring car series visits Munich's Olympic Stadium
- Races featuring knockout format to be held on two days
- Audi drivers Albuquerque and Ekström with experience advantage
Show event instead of summer break. On July 16 and 17 racing fans can experience a highly special spectacle that has never existed like this before: At Munich's Olympic stadium the DTM stars from Audi will compete against their rivals from Mercedes-Benz – in races featuring a knockout format and in their original cars from the current DTM season.
At the venue where the soccer teams of FC Bayern München and 1860 München held their home matches in the German "Bundesliga" until 2005 and that hosted the Olympic Summer Games in 1972 the roaring sounds of the near 470-hp V8 engines of the DTM race cars will be heard for the first time. For Martin Tomczyk, Timo Scheider & company the eagerly awaited DTM debut in Munich will not (yet) be about scoring championship points. But their ambition to win the prestigious race in front of their home audience is high.
The track that has been built at Munich's Olympic stadium during the past few months is exactly 1.192 kilometers long. In April the grass was removed and the whole interior of the stadium covered with tarmac. At the beginning of June Audi racer Filipe Albuquerque at the wheel of the Audi A4 DTM had the opportunity to explore the circuit which at the time was still provisionally marked by traffic cones.
There was a good reason why one of the three rookies from Audi's current DTM squad was chosen to do the reconnaissance run: Last year the Portuguese had won the "Race of Champions" in Düsseldorf that is also held at a sports arena and organized by the former Audi factory driver Michèle Mouton. In Düsseldorf Albuquerque defeated Formula One World Champion Sebastian Vettel, among others.
Another racer from Audi's ranks has even won the "Race of Champions" three times: In 2006 Mattias Ekström triumphed at the Stade de France in Paris, in 2007 at London's Wembley Stadium and in 2009 at the "Bird's Nest" in Beijing where he defeated Michael Schumacher at the finale. That is why Albuquerque and Ekström know exactly what the fans can look forward to.
The DTM race in Munich, however, differs from the "Race of Champions" in many respects. In Munich the drivers are not racing on two separate tracks but on one and the same circuit. The start and finish are directly next to each other in the opposite direction so that the spectators can clearly see who is running in front at the end of each semi-lap.
In addition, the DTM stars will not be driving cars that have been determined by the drawing of lots but their own DTM race cars. And, last but not least, one pit stop, respectively, which must be performed by a maximum of six mechanics, is prescribed as of the quarter-final runs.
Therefore, in addition to the driving skills on the shortest and most winding race track in DTM history, the swift work of the pit crews will be crucial. This is not a disadvantage for Audi at all. At four of the five first races of the season Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline performed the quickest pit stop for which tire partner Hankook always presents the winning crew with an award.
It is clear though that aerodynamics and top speed – two fortes of the current Audi A4 DTM – will play no role at the Olympic Stadium. On the meandering track in Munich traction and good turn-in behavior will be particularly important.
At two free practice sessions on Friday the Audi drivers will have time to find the optimum setup for their cars. On Saturday the "race of marques" will be on the agenda at which the drivers of one brand will first compete against each other. Then, at the finale, the best Audi and the best Mercedes driver will determine the day's winner at two rounds.
On Sunday the best eight drivers of each brand are eligible to run. As of the eighth-final Audi will be pitted against Mercedes-Benz in a knockout format.
The fans will get to see 16 of three to five laps each per day. In addition, there will be a prologue on Saturday and a half-hour warm-up on Sunday. An extensive supporting program will be offered as well – including commentaries by Atze Schröder and live music acts by Mando Diao, The Rattles and Kensingten Road. Tickets for the stands start selling at 29 euros.
ARD's live broadcast on "Das Erste" on Sunday (July 17) will start with the quarter-final at 2 p.m. (local time). On Saturday ARD will also air one and a half hours of live coverage from Munich.
Quotes by the officials
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport):
"It's great that we can perform a show event in Munich with the DTM and in partnership with ARD. I'm convinced that we'll be able to win fans there that otherwise might not go to watch a DTM race. Even though Munich is not about scoring points for the championship it's an important event for Audi that we're taking very seriously and at which we want to present our brand well. I hope that many spectators will turn out to enjoy the DTM and its extensive supporting program."
Hans-Jürgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline):
"Munich is very special for us. We've got many fans. We're inviting all employees of Abt Sportsline to join us there so that they can experience their race team live again for a change. Of course we're hoping for a lot of action to be generated at this sports arena. The crowd there is said to be outstanding, and that also goes for the noise level. It'll no doubt be an interesting match."
Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix):
"Everything is new for us. We've never fought such a duel and aren't sure yet what to expect there – how we'll have to set up our cars, how the tires will work on such a short track and how we'll keep them warm. There are many question marks. Everyone's starting from scratch. I suppose that those who can adjust faster than their rivals will be in front."
Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg):
"I've been active in motorsport for 35 years but Munich will be very special. We've never raced at an Olympic stadium. There will probably be a large crowd. We're arriving with two rookies, although Filipe Albuquerque has already won the Race of Champions. I'm expecting quite a bit of him in Munich. After all, he's already defeated Sébastien Loeb, Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher at the Race of Champions, so he's got a lot going for him."
Facts and quotes by the Audi drivers
Filipe Albuquerque (26/P), TV Movie Audi A4 DTM #18 (Audi Sport Team Rosberg)
- Travels to the sports arena event as the current winner of the Race of Champions
"When I tested in Munich it was difficult to make out the subsequent track layout as I was only driving on an area of tarmac between traffic cones. The stadium is huge and very nice. A large crowd fits in it. Bruno Spengler and I familiarized ourselves with the planned safety gaps and radii of the corners. In the meantime concrete barriers have been erected at the places where the traffic cones were during the test. Now we'll probably be braking two or three meters earlier ... But that's perfectly normal as such tracks don't forgive any mistakes. The most important thing is that the spectators will enjoy it and can watch the cars well. We'll probably also be doing many donuts."
Mattias Ekström (32/S), Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #8 (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline)
- As a three-time winner of the Race of Champions, is familiar with stadium events
- Will celebrate his 33rd birthday shortly before the event
"To win in Munich you need a good set-up. Only then can you drive without making mistakes. If you're successful on the first day then you'll also cover the longest distance. So the first heats are the most important ones. That makes the second day successful too. I'm looking forward to the event."
Rahel Frey (25/CH), Glamour Audi A4 DTM #15 (Audi Sport Team Phoenix)
- Has achieved a one hundred percent rate of finishes in the DTM
"We're all very excited about going to Munich because it'll be a head-to-head race between two contenders. That'll be a very close situation. The difficulty is to get the brakes and tires to work well in such a short time. That increases the risk of making a mistake. It'll be a great challenge for the drivers. And also for the spectators who are really eager to see this. It'll be a tremendous spectacle."
Oliver Jarvis (27/GB), Audi Sport performance cars A4 DTM #5 (Audi Sport Team Abt)
- With a third-place finish at Spielberg achieved his best result of the season
"Although I don't really have an idea yet of what we'll be in for there I'm already looking forward to running in Munich. Naturally, I've talked with some of the other drivers who have previously contested the Race of Champions, which is quite similar. It'll probably be good fun and a spectacular event for the fans. And of course it's nice to be racing so close to Audi's headquarters. And the Olympic Stadium is very special anyway. The fans can get very close to the cars. That'll be a fantastic show."
Miguel Molina (22/E), Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #22 (Audi Sport Team Abt Junior)
- Was the best DTM rookie in 2010
- Has not scored any points in the first half of the 2011 season
"This will be an entertaining race format for sure. I've never run at such an event before. I want to enjoy it. But obviously we also want to show a good sporting performance and experience a successful race weekend."
Edoardo Mortara (24/I/F), Playboy Audi A4 DTM #19 (Audi Sport Team Rosberg)
- After the first half of the season is the DTM rookie with the highest point score
"I've got no plan as to what to expect there. How exactly the track at the Olympic Stadium will have to be driven and what lines will work there I don't know yet. But I'm absolutely sure that it'll be a nice event for the people in front of their TV sets and on location. I hope that we'll be able to offer them a nice show for their money and that there'll be no accidents."
Mike Rockenfeller (27/D), E-POSTBRIEF Audi A4 DTM #9 (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline)
- Returned to the DTM at the Norisring and is completely fit again
"We'll no doubt have a lot of fun. I'm eager to see what it's like to drive on the track in a DTM car. For the people in the stadium the sound will be fantastic for sure. I'm looking forward to it. It'll be a relaxed, unique atmosphere. Still, we're ambitious too. We want to win even though I've never done anything like this before. I'll let myself be surprised and will try to prepare as best I can."
Timo Scheider (32/D), AUTO TEST Audi A4 DTM #4 (Audi Sport Team Abt)
- In third place of the standings is the best driver of a current A4 DTM this season
- Is one of just four drivers who have scored points at every round in 2011
"I'm particularly looking forward to Munich because this will be a very special event at this arena – and I believe that such concepts have good prospects for the future. It'll be a totally different event from anything we've ever had. I like the idea of going to the fans in the middle of the city. I have a bit of stadium experience from the Stockcar Crash Challenge and other events where you drive in the middle of 40,000, 50,000 or 60,000 spectators. I hope that we can bring a little of this stadium atmosphere that everyone knows from soccer into the DTM as well. Then we'll be seeing drivers in high spirits who may go beyond the limit. Although there'll be no points, everyone wants to win. We'll probably be seeing spectacular scenes with donuts and all the trimmings. We don't know exactly what to expect but we're incredibly excited and I'm hoping to be the one to start the first Mexican wave in the stands."
Martin Tomczyk (29/D), Schaeffler Audi A4 DTM #14 (Audi Sport Team Phoenix)
- Celebrated his 20th podium position in the DTM in Nuremberg
- As the runner-up after the first half of the season is the best Audi driver
"I'm happy that in Munich the Olympic Stadium was selected as the venue. That'll be a fantastic thing! Especially because it's a new race format. The knockout system has already acquired a certain prestige in the paddock. I haven't met anyone yet who's not looking forward to it. Driving at the Olympic Stadium like in a bowl is a fascinating situation. And the fact that it's in my native Bavaria makes it even better."