DTM previews 1000bhp electric and fuel cell racers

Published: 08 November 2019

► DTM needs to evolve
► 1000bhp hydrogen cars could be the answer
► Gerhard Berger at the helm

For the last year or so, it looked as though Formula E had claimed another scalp. In the same way the all-electric series inspired a VW Group exodus from the WEC, it looked as though the DTM had suffered the same fate: Mercedes’s departure from the sport looked to be the writing on the wall for the ultimate touring championship – despite the entry of Aston Martin. 

However, in the same way WEC chose to evolve with its exciting new hypercar rules, DTM looks set to do the same – and the German Touring car’s proposed ‘concept’  rules are even more bonkers. 

What are the new rules? 

The sport only just introduced turbos, but the ICE looks to be kaput if these new rules are anything to go. Proposals by the formula’s ITR board have suggested the future is purely electric and hydrogen-powered racers, with close to 1000bhp – so they’ll be fast, and difficult. 

Top speeds should be around 220mph, and power-to-weight ratios should drop to the 1.5bhp/kg mark. Challenging cars, indeed. 

Chairman of the ITR, Gerhard Berger – yes that Berger, explains: ‘With this concept, I want us to embrace that sensation of raw power; of racing at the limits of grip,’ he said.

Not just with 1000bhp under the driver’s right foot; but with a car equipped with the technology of tomorrow, and using models that demonstrate a clear lineage to the major automotive parent brands. This new breed of touring car will be incredible to watch, and fantastic to drive.’

Standardising components

In order to keep costs down, this vision of DTM would feature some standardised components: electric motors, power electronics as well as battery and fuel cells could be identical across the garages. But while the cost-cutting benefits are obvious, it’s hard to see how each manufacturer can promote their own electric tech with so many oily bits shared. Still, it’s just a concept for now. 

Robo pitstops

And we almost forgot. The new DTM could feature automated, robotic pit stops. Cars would have their tyres replaced by robots – eliminating the human pressure of tyre changes altogether, and robots could also replace depleted fuel cells and batteries during races. It’s just a concept remember? 

While some of this is exciting, other bits – such as the robotic pit stops have us scratching our heads. Still, necessity is the mother of invention, and DTM really needs to do something differently before it’s extinct altogether. 

You can let us know what you think of the proposed new rules below.

By Curtis Moldrich

CAR's online editor and racing-sim enthusiast