The 4.3 km Red Bull Ring is the second-longest circuit on the DTM calendar. It has three long straights and seven corners as well as many variations in track elevation. With its long straights and heavy braking zones, the Red Bull Ring demands a good all-round package. The DTM was held at the “A1 Ring”, as it was formerly known, between 2001 and 2003 and returned to Spielberg in 2011. Traditionally, the Red Bull Ring favors Audi.
Audi is traveling to Austria with a one-two lead in the drivers’ standings and as the leading manufacturer. Four victories have been scored by the Audi RS 5 DTM, as well as four pole positions and four fastest race laps. Plus, the lead of the manufacturers’ championship with a 48-point advantage and positions one, two and four in the drivers’ championship with Jamie Green, Mattias Ekström and Edoardo Mortara.
The heaviest car in the field is the one of Ekström who, with fourth place at the Norisring and seventh place at Zandvoort, managed to approach Green with a five-point margin. Ekstrom, who resides in Austria and considers the Ring his home track, has yet to finish on the podium at Red Bull Ring. “So it’s high time, especially because the Red Bull Ring is a home round for me. I live in Austria now and, aside from the races, have visited many other events at the Ring,” Ekstrom commented.
Green is traveling to Spielberg with unfinished business as well. Last year, he was battling in the group of the front runners but then received a drive-through penalty for pitting one lap too late. Green’s fellow four-ring marque team mate Mortara is the only one of the current eight Audi drivers to have finished on podium at Spielberg, on the top step. In 2012, the Italian celebrated his first DTM victory at the Red Bull Ring. Trailing the leader of the standings with a 23-point deficit, he continues to expect having chances of winning the title.
BMW teams have made history at the Red Bull Ring in the past two years: after the one-two-three in 2013, they stepped up a gear last season and celebrated BMW’s first top-four shut-out in 22 years. Alongside winner Marco Wittmann, Augusto Farfus, Timo Glock and Martin Tomczyk, who will contest his 150th DTM race in Spielberg on Saturday, clinched the other spots in the fantastic success.
Four BMW DTM drivers were in racing action once again last weekend. Timo Glock and Bruno Spengler (CA) were at the heart of a very special project: they shared the cockpit with double amputee Alessandro Zanardi for the first time at the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps. The BMW Motorsport engineers had come up with innovative technical solutions to modify the BMW Z4 GT3 for this extraordinary first. Unfortunately, however, a technical fault forced the trio to retire in the final hour of the race. Farfus and Maxime Martin, who shared driving duties with BMW works driver Dirk Werner, retired whilst leading the race. Despite this, BMW Motorsport still had cause for celebration at the classic in the Ardennes region of Belgium: BMW works driver Lucas Luhr , Markus Palttala and Nick Catsburg, at the wheel of a BMW Z4 GT3 run by BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS, claimed a 22nd overall victory for BMW at the Spa 24-hour.
Mercedes DTM drivers are looking for better fortunes at the Ring this weekend to inch up the drivers’ standings and manufacturers’ rankings. Lead driver Gary Paffett sums up the Austrian round, “Spielberg should be a good circuit for us. Last year, the performance was there. Based on our recent form and speed, we can go to Austria looking to hopefully get on the podium.”
Mercedes achieved pole at last year’s race, courtesy of Robert Wickens. However, the race didn’t work out according to plan. Wickens intends to convert the Austrian rounds into strong results and make up for the disaster at the previous rounds.
Daniel Juncadella, who participated in the Spa 24-hour last weekend, is primed and ready for the Austrian bout. Juncadella has previously raced at Spielberg in his old Formula 3 days. He ranks Red Bull Ring as one of his favorite DTM tracks, “It’s one of my favorite circuits on the DTM calendar, so it’s high time that I secured a good result there in the DTM. My target for this year is to finish on the podium. So far, I haven’t managed to do that. If we can carry over our performance from the last two or three race weekends, we have a good chance of a top result in Austria. I’ll be fighting hard for this.”
Lucas Auer is equally ecstatic about his home race and he has some experience at the Ring from the F3 days, as well. He’ll be looking to secure solid finishes for the Three-point Star this weekend on a familiar track.