Germany’s popular and highly competitive DTM touring car series is in for big changes next season – not only in the participating manufacturers, but in its engine format, too. And BMW has been hard at work adapting its M4 DTM to the new Class 1 regulations.
For 2019, the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters is abandoning the old naturally aspirated V8 engines that have long motivated the cars on the grid in favor of smaller turbo fours.
It’s a major step in the coordination between Germany’s DTM and Japan’s Super GT series, and will allow the two to run side-by-side in joint races. But even running separately (as they will for most races), the unified regulations ought to deliver increased synergies and relevance to the road cars the participating manufacturers aim to promote.
In BMW’s case, the fitment of the new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine has necessitated the modification of the M4 DTM’s intakes and exhaust, with further developments to follow before the next season starts. But before that takes place, the new turbocharged M4 has run its first development laps at BMW’s Dingolfing plant – and you can listen to what it’ll sound like in the audio clip below.
“After my first kilometres with the new DTM engine, I can hardly wait for next season,” said Bruno Spengler, the 2012 champion who took the wheel for the car’s initial shakedown. “I can just imagine how much fun it will be to take to the track with so much BMW Turbo Power. You can feel the extra horsepower. We will put on even more of a show for the fans in 2019. The amount of time at full-throttle is reduced – but the top speed is higher than before. We will have to work even harder at the wheel.”
This will be the first time that DTM will allow (much less mandate) turbochargers since they were last abolished in 1990. But it’s not new territory for BMW. “BMW Turbo Power has enjoyed success in motor racing for almost 50 years,” noted BMW Motorsport director Jens Marquardt. “In the first year with a BMW turbo engine, back in 1969, Dieter Quester was immediately crowned European touring car champion with the BMW 2002 TI. In 1973, the BMW 2002 turbo became the first German production automobile to feature a turbocharger. We are now adding a new chapter to this story in the DTM.”
Along with the new engine format and the planned joint races with Super GT, the DTM series is preparing for the departure of one marque, and the arrival of another. Mercedes is exiting stage-left, having been part of the modern series since its inception in 2000. And in its place, Aston Martin is set to enter a version of its Vantage, supported by longtime Benz racing partner HWA.