14 DTM races at the Red Bull Ring since 2011 have not resulted in an Austrian winner. Mathematically alone, the chances of winning at home this year are better than ever, as four Austrians and one Vienna by choice compete in two races at Spielberg. The Grasser Racing team, based in Knittelfeld, just a ten-minute drive from the track, is particularly excited. And with F1 veteran Gerhard Berger, a Tirol resident has been driving a DTM for several years.
Spielberg is the penultimate event of the season in the popular GT series, with both races taking place on Saturday and Sunday (1.30pm each time / Live ServusTV, ProSieben). The most promising candidate from the Red, White and Red team is Lucas Auer (Mercedes), who is second in the overall standings behind South African Sheldon van der Linde. Fourth is Italian Mirco Bortolotti, who drives a Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo for Grasser Racing. Like Auer, the 32-year-old is still fully involved in the action thriller.
“It’s kind of a home race for me because I live in Vienna, but mainly for the team,” Bortolotti said. “We look forward to the absolute highlight of the season,” confirmed team boss Gottfried Grasser, which includes Grace am Brenner’s Clemens Schmid in his stable. “A first place is possible, but defending it will be very difficult,” Grasser reckons something in qualifying. Incidentally, Bortolotti’s win at Spielberg will be his first in a DTM, even though he has led the championship for weeks this year.
Ferrari and BMW could have an advantage on the track due to the height and the turbo engines – thus van der Linde. But Philipp Eng also drives the brand from Munich. “Sheldon has done an incredible job this season,” said the Salzburg man. “We’re always exchanging opinions on setup, driving style and line selection.” Of course, he had nothing against returning to the podium on Mortal’s postcard road.
Porsche driver Thomas Breening is currently at his best. The 24-year-old has already won at Norisring and was third twice at Spa. “We don’t take it easy on this track, more torque would benefit us, but that’s what we thought Spa and he came back with good results,” explained the man from Linz, who gave his former team boss Walter Lechner. He will remember a special helmet design. “The appointment has been very strong in the past few races,” says DTM Team Principal Gerhard Berger.
Even in the old DTM days on the Salzburgring or A1-Ring circuit, as the track was called at Spielberg before Dietrich Mateschitz bought it, there were no red, white and red victories. The first Austrian DTM winner was Auer of Tyrol on 5 June 2016 at Lausitzring, followed by Eng (2019) and Preining (2022). “It would be exciting to win at home,” said the top Austrian.
Driving on the well-known Formula 1 scheme. The new chicane, which was recently used for the first time in the MotoGP World Championships, will not be approached. It is not yet clear if it will be a theme for motorsports in later years. It is also not yet certain whether the DTM will add a second Austrian event soon – the Salzburgring is definitely an issue.
Former figure skating star Marcel Hirscher will also perform laps on the track. In the Audi R8 LMS in the design of his ski company Van Deer, the World Cup winner will complete a record taxi ride with fans. And it should be much more this year than last year, for example, which was still severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The presale is said to have gone very well.
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