BMW Retains Five of Six DTM Drivers for 2019
Five of BMW’s existing DTM drivers will remain in the championship driving the new turbo-powered M4 DTM, the manufacturer announced at its end-of-season event on Friday.
Philipp Eng, Joel Eriksson, Timo Glock, Bruno Spengler and Marco Wittmann will all return to the championship after competing in 2018.
A sixth and final driver will be announced following this week’s young driver test.
The only one of BMW’s 2018 DTM drivers not to continue in the German-based series will be Augusto Farfus, who was confirmed as part of the brand’s Intercontinental GT Challenge lineup alongside Martin Tomczyk.
BMW announced last month that the Brazilian would shift his focus to GT racing, in both GT3 competition and BMW Team MTEK’s FIA World Endurance Championship program.
Treluyer, Van der Linde, Catsburg in for DTM Rookie Test
The driver lineup for the end-of-season DTM rookie test has been finalized after Mercedes confirmed its representation on Monday morning.
Multiple drivers with sports car experience are listed, including three-time Le Mans winner Benoit Treluyer with Audi, FIA World Endurance Championship racer Nicky Catsburg with BMW, and 19-year-old GT3 ace Sheldon van der Linde with BMW.
Mercedes will field Jake Dennis, Jake Hughes, Ferdinand Habsburg and Porsche junior Thomas Preining for its final on-track commitment as a DTM manufacturer.
Hasbsburg was originally confirmed to test with Audi and will be replaced in the RS 5 DTM car by Macau F3 podium finisher Sacha Fenestraz.
Audi is also giving test opportunities to Treluyer, Mattia Drudi, Jonathan Aberdein and Blancpain GT race winner Frederic Vervisch. BMW, meanwhile, has named Catsburg, Van der Linde, Nick Yelloly and recently-promoted factory driver Mikkel Jensen.
The three-day rookie test gets underway today.
Pit Stop Handicaps Introduced to Michelin Le Mans Cup
Pit stop handicaps will be introduced to the Michelin Le Mans Cup next season based off championship points for the top five cars.
They will be served as additional time during the races’ mandatory pit stops, with the handicap time added on to the existing minimum pit stop time.
Handicaps will be calculated according to championship points at the end of the previous event, and therefore won’t be applicable at the first round of the season.
The top five cars in the standings will be subject to handicaps, based on their points total minus the points of the sixth-place competitor, times 0.5.
AER Announces Organizational Changes
Engine manufacturer AER has announced several organizational promotions for 2019.
Company co-founder and managing director Mike Lancaster will move into the role of executive director, focusing on existing client relationships and new business development.
His managing director position will be taken up by former AER technical director Mark Ellis, who will assume responsibility for the company’s overall operation, as well as continuing to lead its technical departments.
Additionally, fellow long-time AER team member Adrian Phipps has been named director of finance and human resources.
AER supplied engines to Mazda Team Joest in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship this year, and is also powering the two SMP Racing BR Engineering BR1 cars in the FIA World Endurance Championship LMP1 category.
LMP1 Cars Set for Goodwood Circuit Demo
An assortment of 21st-century Le Mans prototypes will take part in a high-speed demonstration at the Goodwood Members’ Meeting on April 6-7.
The Saturday evening dusk run will mark the first appearance of LMP1 prototypes on the 2.3-mile historic circuit in southern England. They will be joined on the high-speed demo bill by a field of BMW M1 Procars that supported Formula 1 in 1979 and 1980.
The exhibitions will complement a varied racing program featuring vintage sports cars, touring cars and single seaters.
A full entry list is expected to be released early next year.
Erebus Confirms Bathurst 12H Return
2013 Liqui Moly Bathurst 12 Hour winner Erebus Motorsport will return to the Mount Panorama enduro next year with a Mercedes-AMG GT3 featuring Bathurst 1000 winners David Reynolds and Luke Youlden.
They will share driving duties with Yasser Shahin, who co-drove a Lamborghini Gallardo R-EX last year with Youlden and Tomas Enge.
Reynolds and Youlden won last year’s 1000-mile Virgin Australia Supercars centerpiece in an Erebus-entered Holden V8 Commodore.
The team’s Mercedes, which will be prepared by Scott Taylor Motorsport, will run in the Pro-Am category of the Intercontinental GT Challenge season-opener.
News & Notes
***Ford Chip Ganassi Racing driver Andy Priaulx will return to touring cars next year after signing with Cyan Racing for the WTCR series. Priaulx, who currently races in the FIA World Endurance Championship GTE-Pro class with Harry Tincknell, won three consecutive touring car world titles with BMW in 2005-7. The Guernseyman, who last raced a touring car in 2015, said the WTCR program will run in “parallel” to his WEC commitments with no date clashes between the two series in 2019.
***Adam Balon will join Phil Keen at Barwell Motorsport in the British GT Championship next year, making the step up from the GT4 class to replace Jon Minshaw alongside the newly-signed Lamborghini factory driver. The pair will drive a new 2019-spec Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo.
Dan Lloyd and Jake Kilshaw contributed to this report.