The 2019 DTM is in the starting blocks. When it comes to excitement, this season looks like being hard to beat. When the six BMW M4 DTM take to the track under competitive conditions for the first time this year, from 3rd May in Hockenheim, racing fans can all look forward to a host of exciting innovations. New turbocharged engines. New racetracks. A new manufacturer. The 2019 DTM season promises to be one of the most thrilling ever.


We are providing an overview of the most important changes. And who better to cast an expert eye over these changes than one of the most experienced DTM drivers around: Bruno Spengler. In 2019, the Canadian is contesting his 15th season in the DTM, and very few drivers can point to as much success in this hard-fought series than Spengler. His greatest success to date came in 2012 when he was crowned champion in his Black Beast, the BMW Bank M3 DTM.

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Collage with Bruno Spengler


2019 welcomes the new Class 1 era in the DTM. BMW M Motorsport has built the most powerful DTM car ever: the BMW M4 DTM, has been modified in accordance with Class 1 regulations. At the heart of the car is the newly developed BMW P48 two-litre turbo engine. Combined with a significantly lighter car, the performance figures are nothing short of impressive and allow speeds of up to 300 km/h.

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The newly developed BMW P48 turbo engine

The newly developed BMW P48 turbo engine.

At the heart of BMW’s 2019 DTM season race car is the newly-developed, highly-efficient two-litre turbo engine, which generates over 600 hp. It continues the success story of BMW Turbo Power in motorsport which began 50 years ago. Many areas of the BMW M4 DTM have been redesigned for the new turbo engine, including the exhaust system, front end and cooling vents. Changes were also made to the front splitter and rear wing, while the rear diffusor was lowered.


Bruno Spengler: “I was lucky enough to test the engine for the first time during the roll-out in Dingolfing. Knowing how much history, development and knowledge have gone into the BMW Turbo engine made this a very special moment for me. It is going to be a big challenge for all of us – the drivers, engineers and teams – as we must all adapt to a completely new concept. In recent years, we always had eight-cylinder, naturally aspirated engines. As such, it we are now faced with a major change, which on the one hand means a lot of work, but on the other hand will also be an awful lot of fun. That makes it all the more important to be successful in the first year.”

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Car weight.

The mandatory total weight of the new BMW M4 DTM, including driver, is 1,070 kg. The combination of more engine power and less weight means the BMW M4 DTM has a significantly lower power to weight ratio. This should ensure that the cars reach the 300 km/h mark on the fastest sections of track on the DTM calendar, such as the Parabolica at the Hockenheimring.


Spengler: “You can really notice the extra 100 hp. We are much faster on the straights. In contrast, you only notice the lower weight in direct comparison. However, the car is far more agile when changing direction. That clearly shows the way things are headed this year.”

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Front splitter.

The protrusion of the front splitter has been reduced by up to 90 millimetres. This modification makes the BMW M4 DTM more robust in wheel-to-wheel battles.


Spengler: “The more robust the cars, the better for us when there is contact. The splitter is no longer so long at the front. This means that there is less risk of the splitter breaking if you hit with someone. However, you cannot afford to damage it too much, as that could result in the cooling failing and, in turn, the engine breaking down. You still need to take a little care.”

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Start procedure.

Another change to the cars also looks set to add to the excitement. In 2019, the start will be far more challenging for the DTM drivers. There was previously a type of electronic holding brake, which was released by the push of a button at the start. This left the drivers free to focus on finding the perfect biting point on the clutch and on the engine speed, in order to make the best possible start. The holding brake has been done away with in 2019. The car must now be held manually using the brake, in order to avoid a false start.


Spengler: “This change probably comes with one of the biggest question marks of the season. It will certainly be pretty chaotic, especially at the beginning. I am really intrigued to see how this pans out.”

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The DTM has introduced a push-to-pass function for the first time in 2019. At the touch of a button, the drivers can call on up to 30 PS of extra engine power. This is possible using an additional standard part, the fuel flow restrictor. The increase in power is achieved by temporarily allowing more fuel to be injected into the four cylinders of the P48 turbo engine.


Spengler: “I have never had push-to-pass before, but I find it pretty cool. I think that the combination of push-to-pass and DRS will produce a lot of action. Overtaking is obviously difficult at some circuits, but on the whole it will certainly be more exciting.”

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The diffuser on the BMW M4 DTM has been lowered by 30 millimetres and the start of the diffuser ramp has been moved back 870 millimetres.


Spengler: “The lower diffusor means that the car produces less downforce. Only a little less, however, as we have a larger rear wing this year, which generates more downforce on the rear axle. That evens things out a little. On the whole, it could be that this causes the tyres to deteriorate faster, making things a little critical over the full race distance.”

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As well as classics like Hockenheim, the Nürburgring and the Norisring, fans and drivers can also look forward to two new venues on the race calendar: Zolder and Assen. Circuit Zolder, in Belgium, is particularly closely associated with the history of the DTM. It was here that the very first DTM race ever was held in 1984. TT Circuit Assen, in the Dutch city of the same name, is another name that means a lot to many racing fans. The “Cathedral of Speed” is known as one of the most demanding motorcycle circuits in the world – and will also put the DTM drivers through their paces.


Spengler: “I know neither of the circuits in Zolder or Assen, but I am very excited about them and have heard plenty about them both. Assen, in particular, is supposed to be pretty cool. I find it a bit of a shame that Zandvoort and Spielberg are no longer on the calendar, as they are absolutely fantastic circuits. However, it is always interesting to drive at new tracks, so I’ll wait and see.”

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After Mercedes withdrew from the DTM last year, a new competitor has entered the fray as the third manufacturer in 2019: Aston Martin. This new aspect represents the great unknown for the other two manufacturers, BMW and Audi. They have come across each other in other series, including the FIA World Endurance Championship, in which both BMW and Aston Martin race. However, the newcomer has the potential to make it an interesting season in the DTM, which, since the return of BMW in 2012, has traditionally seen the three biggest brands in Germany – BMW, Audi and Mercedes – go head to head.


Spengler: “Aston Martin joining the series is very exciting. A new manufacturer and a new team – that makes things very interesting. I am assuming that they will be competitive from the word go.”

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