With thanks to our friend and colleague Geinou of RacingBlog.de, who covered this weekend’s Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) final round and Autobacs Super GT Series Show Run at the Hockenheimring in Badem-Württemberg, Germany, here is the transscript of Sunday morning’s joint press conference by ITR president Gerhard Berger, and GTA chairman Masaaki Bandoh.
There was a great deal of anticipation in the air on Friday morning at the historic Hockenheimring in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, as the cars of the Autobacs Super GT Series completed a successful first test at race speed in the lead up to opening practice for this weekend’s Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) season finale.
Four-time GT500 Drivers’ Champion Ronnie Quintarelli, aboard the 2016 #1 Motul Autech NISMO GT-R, joined reigning GT500 champion Heikki Kovalainen, in the 2016 #093 TRD Lexus LC500 Test Car, for the first of two thirty-minute demonstration runs of the weekend.
In the session, Super GT’s challenge to the DTM was laid down – as Kovalainen recorded an unofficial lap time of 1:29.8, nearly two seconds faster than the best time set in the subsequent DTM free practice session.
Defending GT500 Drivers’ Champion Heikki Kovalainen and four-time GT500 champion Ronnie Quintarelli have been selected to run for their respective manufacturers, as the Autobacs Super GT Series brings their machines to the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) season finale at the Hockenheimring circuit in Germany this weekend.
F1 hero Kovalainen will drive the 2016-spec Lexus LC500 Super GT test vehicle, while four-time champ Quintarelli will drive the Motul Autech NISMO GT-R that he raced last season to third in the championship.
The proposed technical unification of the Autobacs Super GT Series’ GT500 class with the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) championship, known as “Class One,” has been an over-arching narrative for both series in the last four years and counting.
July’s announcement that Mercedes-Benz would withdraw from the DTM at the end of 2018 has put those plans of a unified race in question. However, the DTM got some much-needed good news on their end, with BMW Motorsport’s announcement that the manufacturer has made a long-term commitment to the European series.
In addition, BMW Motorsport director Jens Marquadt has stated that they are ready to implement the two-litre, turbocharged engine formula from the GT500 class, in the hopes of a future collaboration with Super GT.