Six different marques undergo performance measuring, centre of gravity testing and wind tunnel running to establish equal competitive footing for all competitors in 2020 season.
Despite the restrictions created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 racing season has started to power up – and preparation and performance testing for the inaugural DTM Trophy season is in full swing.
For the new series, the focus for the week ahead is on technology. Every vehicle taking part in the all-new DTM GT series will have its performance measured and recorded in exacting detail in order to evaluate and simulate a benchmark Balance of Performance (or BoP, for short) across the 2020 grid.
It’s a tricky balancing act: every vehicle needs to be given the opportunity to fight for success across a number of different circuit characeristics; tight and twisty, and fast and flowing. A successful BoP enables drivers and engineers to push their cars to the performance limit, while also ensuring a parity of pace between different cars.
Currently, the DTM Trophy has around 20 entrants, with six different manufacturers registered – but more can still enter, with the registration period extended under COVID-19 to June 1, 2020. At a cost of €23,000 per car, excluding statutory VAT, a team can enter the series and go racing.
“We currently have six different manufacturers from 20 entrants taking part in our first season – so we already have to cater for a broad range of technical concepts,”said Frederic Elsner, ITR’s Director of Business Unit Event. “But that’s exactly what we want to support and build upon. That’s why we have decided to make the BoP classifications on the basis of objective criteria that we determine during numerous test bench trials. Ultimately, that will ensure fair and meaningful competition.”
For the season, 12 teams have already registered, with the entry list including cars from Mercedes-AMG, McLaren, Audi, BMW, Porsche and Aston Martin. In order to balance these disparate levels of performance, the cars are measured on different test benches. One of the main objectives is determining each vehicle’s centre of gravity. By clamping all four wheels to a test stand, each vehicle can be rotated along its longitudinal axis – right up to its potential ‘rollover point’ – in order to correctly determine its centre of gravity.
Another procedure the vehicles must face is the classic dynamometer, which determines engine power – arguably the most decisive factor in terms of performance. But there are also tests on aerodynamic efficiency, undertaken in a wind tunnel.
The purpose of collecting so much data? To build virtual simulation models of each vehicle, which can then be used to simulate lap-times across all DTM Trophy tracks in a season, and better determine each vehicle’s Balance of Performance.
To create equal opportunity, every entered vehicle must have the same minimum weight and minimum vehicle height.