Scot Elkins says he’s aiming to provide further transparency to teams and drivers, as the longtime official gears up for his first season as DTM race director.
The American, who is best known for his race director role in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, has joined ITR this year as part of its off-season overhaul that’s included changes in sporting regulations and the addition of new technology partner in Al Kamel Systems that will provide further clarity to the officiating process.
Having been present during the series’ pre-season test at Hockenheim earlier this month, Elkins said he already feels at home in his new role with the German-based championship ahead of this weekend’s season-opener in Portimao.
“I think one of the keys is having everything go in a very transparent way,” Elkins said in an interview on the series’ official website. “That is critical for my philosophy and the way I like to work.
“It is the way we are going to transfer into the entire AvD organization in terms of how we do business. I think it is important to create the relationships with the teams and the drivers to where there is mutual respect and that that transparency exists.
“As long as we can create that culture where everyone trusts each other and everyone believes each other, I think it is really important.
“For me that is a really good first step in this first season, to have those definitions very clear for everyone. And with that comes everything else that we want as a success: good events, good racing.
“If we can define that culture of transparency and honesty, I think it will really make it enjoyable and allow us all to reflect back and say: Man, this was great.”
Elkins said he promises to allow for “good, close and hard racing” including ‘more contact’ than what has been previously seen in the series, which is embarking on its second year with the GT3 formula.
A total of 29 cars are entered for the season, marking a considerable growth over last year’s numbers.
“I think it is in terms of over regulations it does happen a bit more in Europe than it does in the U.S.,” Elkins said. “There we have a bit more of a ‘have at it’-kind of attitude.
“I think that may or may not translate to what we are going to do in DTM.
“I do know that everyone involved in the administration of ITR wants to have good racing and we definitely don’t want to over-regulate to the form of where the racing suffers.
“So I think, the way we are going to manage it is very similar to the way I’ve managed other series and I don’t know if that ‘taking it easy’ is quite the right way to frame it, but we definitely will allow more reasonable contact and good, good tight and hard racing.”
Team Orders, Track Limits Addressed
Elkins admitted he’s not surprised by how “significant” the topic of team orders has been, following last year’s season finale at the Norisring that enabled Maxi Goetz to take the championship win after instructions made by Mercedes-AMG to its other customer teams.
After consultation with participants and an outcry from fans, the DTM has issued the threat of expulsion to parties that are proven to enact team or manufacturer orders this year.
“I think we have written the regulations that does exactly what it intended to do which is formally puts it in the regulations makes everyone aware that we are aware of what happened and what potentially can happen,” he said.
“So the idea is that we just have to have something in the regulations in order to be able to send them to the stewards and let them make a decision and it will be a complex decision as always but it now allows the stewards conduct in investigations, have hearing, talk to everyone involved and get a chance to try and to get to the bottom of it.
“I think it’s really important that we know that there are no outside influences on the event.
“What each drivers does on his or her own, on their own accord, is up to them. If they decide to slow they decide to slow but don’t want these outside-influence. That’s really what the purpose of the regulation is.”
Another change for 2022 is a further crackdown on track limits, which will be assisted by the use of video cameras from timing and scoring partner Al Kamel.
After consultation with team managers at Hockenheim, Elkins said he doesn’t foresee it to be a major issue this year.
“[Al Kamel] has an amazing system that uses video cameras for the track limits to where we can set what the limit is and then adjust as we need to,” Elkins explained.
“So if I say I want the wheels to the right of the white line, they can set the cameras to do that. So it’s a really really great system and again, as I said it before, it gives us the opportunity to actually send data to the teams and they can actually see where the infringements are occurring and adjust from there to reduce it.
“Obviously, the biggest issue is going to be in qualifying because we will immediately delete the lap times that a team infringes on the track limits. But that’s a part of modern motorsports and we have to deal with it.”