For Audi DTM, the penultimate round is deemed extra important as they gun after the drivers and manufacturers’ titles. In both classifications, Audi is lying in wait before the last two race weekends of the season. Ekström as the runner-up in the standings is trailing Wehrlein with a deficit of only 14 points. In the manufacturers’ standings, Audi is holding position two as well.
The success-induced ‘performance weights’ are playing a crucial part in the popular touring car racing series this season. Audi has won every other of the 14 races so far, so the Audi RS 5 DTM cars have been loaded with weights corresponding to the wins. At the Nürburgring, Ekström’s car will be lighter for the very first time this year than his Mercedes rival, who has had an average weight advantage of 6.1 kilograms so far. Ekstrom has a good track record at the Eifel, with two wins in 2005 and 2011. The Swede is therefore looking for a third win here and hopes to lead the standings again. Although the lead of the standings has changed seven times this season after 14 of 18 rounds, Audi drivers hold the top four slots in the standings; in addition to Ekström, Edoardo Mortara (–30 points) and Jamie Green (–33 points) continue to be in the title race.
BMW has faltered behind the chief rivals after 14 rounds, but when they win they usually win it by a landslide. They currently topped the manufacturers’ rankings after the Oschersleben rounds. Although they must now line up with considerably more performance weight on board their BMW M4 DTMs, the eight BMW drivers have their sights set firmly on scoring more valuable points on the 3.629-kilometer variant of the Nürburgring. BMW drivers did contest a number of races on the 20-kilometer Nordschleife in the 1980s and 1990s. In total, BMW Motorsport so far has ten DTM victories at the Nürburgring to its name.
Last year, pole-sitter and reigning champion Marco Wittmann led from start to finish to claim a valuable win en route to the drivers’ title and present BMW Team RMG with its first home win in the Eifel Mountains. The 25-year-old also clocked the fastest lap of the race in a time of 1:23.175, a track record in a DTM car.
In the Mercedes camp, Wehrlein is currently towards a potential first title for the Stuttgart based squad in quite a while. Wehrlein extended his lead in the overall standings with a P5 in the second race of the Oschersleben rounds. He is now on 140 points, 14 points up on Ekström. The German’s squad gooix/Original-Teile Mercedes-AMG currently lead the team rankings with a total of 196 points.
Mercedes DTM squads expect Paul Di Resta, Gary Paffett, Daniel Juncadella, Robert Wickens, Lucas Auer, Christian Vietoris and Maximilian Götz to be in their top forms for the penultimate DTM rounds.