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Similar driver high quality, much less carnage with smaller 2024 DTM grid

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Solely 20 vehicles are entered for the total 2024 DTM season, marking the fewest entries seen within the championship because it switched to GT3 laws in 2021.

Excessive working prices, lowered producer assist and financial situations at massive have been cited as key causes behind the decline in participation from final 12 months, when 28 drivers took half.

Nonetheless, 17 drivers from 2023 are persevering with within the DTM this 12 months, amongst them large names together with like Marco Wittmann, Rene Rast, Lucas Auer, Maro Engel and defending champion Thomas Preining.

Additionally returning to the class is Le Mans 24 Hours class winner Nicki Thiim, who joins the SSR Performance Lamborghini workforce this 12 months after an ill-fated debut with T3 Motorsport in 2022.

Van der Linde, one of many 4 earlier title-winners on the grid, feels there is no such thing as a motive to be involved in regards to the grid being downsized as no prime drivers have misplaced their seats.

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“I believe we’ve misplaced 10 vehicles however I don’t suppose we’ve misplaced any high quality,” the 2022 champion informed Autosport in Imola finally weekend’s World Endurance Championship spherical. 

“All the large names are there, and that’s clearly vital for a championship like DTM to maintain having guys like Rene and Marco, ex-champions, which retains the title of DTM on the next stage. 

“When you’re competing in opposition to the very best drivers, that mechanically places the championship on a excessive stage.”

Sheldon van der Linde

Picture by: BMW Motorsport

The DTM has witnessed various dramatic crashes in its GT3 period, with the 2022 occasions on the Norisring and Hockenheim each dominated by major accidents. Such was the extent of injury from the carnage on the latter occasion that six drivers have been compelled to overlook the ultimate race of the 12 months.

Final 12 months, because the ADAC took over the championship beforehand run by ITR, two separate pile-ups introduced out the crimson flag within the second race on the Sachsenring, with various vehicles left with an excessive amount of injury to take the restart.

Van der Linde, who was himself concerned in one of many two incidents, feels a smaller grid will mechanically scale back the probabilities of first-lap wrecks.

“I don’t see it as much less vehicles, I truly see it as Positive within the sense that there’s much less carnage on the beginning as a result of final 12 months typically it was fairly ridiculous with all of the accidents that occurred,” he defined.

“Simply because there’s too many vehicles, individuals are making an attempt to make positions on the beginning as a result of they know that’s the one time which you could actually achieve something out of the race.

“As a result of ultimately, it’s tough to move a GT3 automotive. In that sense it’s going to be extra right down to qualifying now, much less visitors, which suggests the laps are extra truthful, you don’t get blocked or something the place a man that needs to be on the entrance begins on the again for instance. 

“I believe it’s simply extra truthful and also you’ll see a real one on the finish.”

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