The Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft (German Touring Car Championship, or DTM) was a touring car racing series held from 1984 to 1996. Originally based in Germany, it held additional rounds elsewhere in Europe and later worldwide.
The original DTM had resumed racing with production based cars, as the former Deutsche Rennsport Meisterschaft had switched to Group 5 in the mid 1970s and even to expensive Group C sportscars in the 1980s, leading to its decline. Since 2000, a new DTM has been run as the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters, again organized by ITR.
Rise of the original DTMEdit
The original DTM was started in 1984 with cars entered by privateer teams and under FIA Group A rules, but was extensively modified throughout the years, allowing more modifications. In the late 1980s, works teams joined the DTM, and it became one of the most pouplar motorsports in Europe. In 1993, the Group A rules were abandoned in favor of a more liberalized 2.5 L engine series called FIA Class 1, with extensive use of ABS, four-wheel drive, electronics and carbon fibre chassis, the former three were technologies that were banned from F1. Opel, Mercedes-Benz and Alfa Romeo all fielded works teams after Audi and BMW had abandoned earlier.
DTM to ITC and demiseEdit
Having expanded its horizons for the 1995 season to include several non-German rounds dotted around Europe (including rounds in Helsinki, Finland and Donington Park, England), the DTM made plans to morph into a completely international championship known as the ITC (International Touring-Car Championship) for 1996. The ITR governing body then sought approval and support from the FIA to begin the new series. In exchange for FIA support, the ITR let the organization take control over many aspects of the way the ITC was run: crucially, the financial side of the championship was revolutionized. A large proportion of the revenue generated by the championship went to the FIA, with the result that less went to the teams who subsequently complained of little return on their increasingly large investment in the high-tech series (this was further exasperated by the travel costs to the new international rounds in Suzuka, Japan and Interlagos, Brazil). The FIA also increased the price for television rights dramatically with the result that television coverage of the series disappeared from all European countries except Italy, Germany and Finland, prices for tickets to races were almost doubled, and access to the circuit paddock to meet the drivers (which had previously been a big hit with fans) was drastically reduced. The choices of circuits on which to hold rounds of the championship were also unsuccessful - the rounds at Magny-Cours, France and particularly Interlagos suffered very poor attendance. Questions were also raised by the manufacturers as to why they were racing in countries in which their cars were not actually sold (Alfa Romeos were not sold in Brazil, and neither Opels nor Alfa Romeos are sold in Japan). Opel and Alfa Romeo both left the championship after the 1996 season, leaving only Mercedes; the championship was consequently cancelled.
The new DTMEdit
The DTM returned in the year 2000 with different rules and without International Championship status. The DTM initials now stand for Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (German Touring Car Masters).