With the current DTM ‘Class One’ formula effectively dead at the end of this year following Audi’s withdrawal, and still no firm details of the proposed replacement formula, there is much uncertainty amongst teams currently with DTM programmes.
DSC has heard previously from both Ernst Moser at Phoenix and from WRT’s Vincent Vosse on their possible options, Phoenix’s plans have now crystallised as a single LMP2 car for the 2020/21 Asian Le Mans Series (plus a possible LMP3 entry) and a 2021 European Le Mans Series campaign, the team keen to try to earn an entry for the 2021 Le Mans 24 Hours, and to establish a reputation in prototype racing to keep themselves in the minds of potential factory-supported LMDH prototype entrants in the next few years.
WRT meanwhile have been a little quieter, some stories linking the Belgian super team with the DTM’s outline recovery plan, yet to be fully explained, but clearly based around ‘enhanced’ GT3 machinery with the current DTM’s single driver, sprint race format retained.
Vincent Vosse though has been clear that as far as the DTM is concerned much more information is required before any decision can be made. His earlier position on the economic realities of ‘enhancing’ GT3 cars meanwhile have been reinforced by many in the current GT3 community both at team and manufacturer levels, all emphasising that the costs of such upgrades would be very considerable.
Whilst some sources have suggested that the formula has the support of both BMW and Audi, both factories currently have a shareholding in ITR, the organiser and rights holder for DTM, it is also clear that there is zero prospect of a new DTM attracting the numbers of directly factory-backed cars from the two that the 2020 Championship has – the hope is therefore that other factory-backed teams – or (very) well-funded privateers might bridge any numerical gap.
Certainly, emissaries of the DTM have been working the paddocks of late, Jim Glickenhaus the latest man to acknowledge an approach, making it clear that he was interested in the base idea, completely convinced that the new 004C was easily capable of the enhancements, but equally being crystal clear that there was no prospect of him funding such a programme directly, though he would support (in engineering terms) any customer that wished to do so.
So far so unclear then, but what about the potential for WRT top move to LMP2 alongside their current GT3 programmes?
Again here Vosse has been clear, it is absolutely under active consideration, but the clear imperative should WRT move in that direction is that an entry for Le Mans in 2021 would be a deal clincher.
That in itself makes a WRT entry into the FIA WEC in 2021 by far the most likely option, with no mention just yet of any intention to race in the class in either the Asian or European Le Mans Series.
The final piece in the jigsaw for WRT, and for others, is the current debate on Sporting Regulations, just what mix of drivers is going to be eligible, and for which Series.
WRT has entered LMP2 on one previous occasion. A one-off at the SPa ELMS round in 2016 with a Ligier P2 (pictured top).
DSC is aware of at least two teams, not currently in the WEC, who are ready to commit to the World Championship in LMP2 should that decision go in the right direction for their potential commercial packages.
These are VERY interesting times for the immediate future of sportscar racing!