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Schaeffler is the series and innovation partner to the DTM

Power and outstanding performance, thrilling action on the track, and cutting-edge internal combustion engine technology – that is the DTM. Since 1984, this racing series has been attracting fans with a combination of enthralling motor sport and a colorful program of entertainment with additional high-level racing series that are held during the race weekends.

The 2021 DTM season will see the debut of cars designed according to the FIA’s GT3 regulation. Schaeffler has been the official series and innovation partner to the DTM since the end of 2020 and, with its technological expertise, is actively helping to make sure that the racing series has a promising future. One example that embodies this is the use of the Space Drive steer-by-wire technology developed by the Schaeffler Paravan joint venture in two DTM cars during the 2021 season. At the same time, Schaeffler is also developing the electric drive system for the electrification of the DTM. What is more, this season will mark the first time that Schaeffler is represented by two partner teams: Walkenhorst Motorsport and Abt Sportsline.

A pioneer in the DTM

Schaeffler has been actively involved in the DTM for many years and has been supporting drivers and teams with its expertise in motor sport and technology:

  • 2011
    Schaeffler lends its name to the Schaeffler Audi and secures the DTM drivers’ title in its first year with Martin Tomczyk
  • 2012/13
    Mike Rockenfeller becomes Schaeffler’s new DTM driver and wins the DTM drivers’ title in the second year of the partnership
  • 2019
    Start of the premium partnership with BMW M Motorsport with Marco Wittmann at the wheel
  • 2020
    The DTM Electric demonstrator car is presented during the season finale in Hockenheim
  • 2021
    Schaeffler is represented by two brand ambassadors in the DTM for the first time: Sophia Flörsch and Marco Wittmann

Two Schaeffler partner teams compete for the first time

The DTM is taking a step in a new direction. In 2021, the series will see GT3 cars and privately-owned teams competing for the first time, with Schaeffler as its official series and innovation partner. The new regulation means that the starting grid will feature significantly more brands than ever before. In addition to Audi and BMW, Ferrari and Mercedes-AMG will now also be among the teams competing for the DTM crown. This season will see two cars competing in Schaeffler colors for the first time: The BMW M6 GT3 – the new #GreenMachine – operated by Walkenhorst Motorsport and driven by two-time DTM champion Marco Wittmann, and the Audi R8 LMS GT3 operated by Abt Sportsline and driven by Schaeffler brand ambassador Sophia Flörsch.

At the same time, Schaeffler is also actively promoting technological developments for the future of the DTM and is in the process of developing the electric drive system for its electrification, which is set to become a reality in 2023 with the DTM Electric. The DTM’s program of social events for 2021 will include appearances by the DTM Electric demonstrator car. The program will also see the BMW M2 Cup champion crowned – and Schaeffler is also a premium partner here, represented by brand ambassador and BMW M Motorsport driver Carrie Schreiner.

Matthias Zink, CEO Automotive Technologies at Schaeffler

The partnership with the DTM is perfectly suited to Schaeffler. As a mobility pioneer, we want to challenge the status quo and push the boundaries – and, in doing so, to make a difference.

Marco Wittmann, Schaeffler brand ambassador and driver of the BMW M6 GT3

It goes without saying that having a regional partner like Schaeffler on my side is the perfect situation. The chemistry between us was right from the very beginning.

Sophia Flörsch, Schaeffler brand ambassador and driver of the Audi R8 LMS GT3

I am absolutely thrilled to be competing in the DTM. This partnership with Schaeffler and Abt Sportsline is amazing, and it gives me a lot of confidence for my first season.

Space Drive in the DTM

The 2021 season will be the 35th in the DTM’s history, and will mark a technological first for Schaeffler: Two cars equipped with the Space Drive steer-by-wire technology developed by Schaeffler Paravan will be competing for the first time – the Mercedes-AMG driven by Gary Parfett and the BMW M6 GT3 driven by Timo Glock. In this steer-by-wire system, all steering commands are transmitted by a controller to a motor that ultimately carries out the steering movements and transfers them to the wheels. This means that no steering column is required.

For motor sport, the use of this technology first of all means a reduction in the car’s weight and the direct transmission of steering commands. When it comes to road vehicles, the omission of the steering column could allow entirely new vehicle interior concepts to be created. The advantages offered by Space Drive – which is being tested under extreme conditions in the field of motor sport – also make it a key technology in the field of autonomous driving.

New for the 2021 season

A new vehicle class
More than anything else, the introduction of the GT3 regulation means new vehicles. For the 2021 season, the well-known and popular #GreenMachine driven by Marco Wittmann will be a BMW M6 GT3. The Audi R8 LMS GT3 driven by Sophia Flörsch will also be sporting the Schaeffler Logo. The new GT3 vehicles boast a significantly larger engine capacity and more cylinders than their Class 1 predecessors.

More brands
The 2021 season will see a more varied DTM starting grid than ever before. Audi and BMW will be joined by the likes of Ferrari, McLaren, and Mercedes-AMG.

More balance
In 2021, the DTM will once again be implementing a “Balance of Performance” (BoP) with the objective of ensuring a uniform level of performance for the different GT3 vehicle concepts. Drivers who achieve particular success will also receive a weight bonus, which is specified by the regulation. The objective of this is also to ensure the fairest possible competition and thus make the races more open and exciting.

Schaeffler BMW M6 GT3

Schaeffler Motorsport DTM #greenmachine
  • Weight: Below 1,300 kg
  • Top speed: No information
  • Capacity: 4,395 cm3
  • V8 engine with M TwinPower turbo technology
  • Number of cylinders: 8
  • Performance: Up to 585 HP (depending on classification)
  • Power-to-weight ratio: Approx. 2.2 kg/HP
  • 0 to 100 km/h: No information
  • Dimensions: 4,944 mm / 2,046 mm / no information (L/W/H)

Schaeffler Audi R8 LMS GT3

Schaeffler Motorsport DTM AUDI R8 LMS
  • Weight: 1,235 kg
  • Maximum speed: 305 km/h
  • Capacity: 5,200 cm3
  • Naturally-aspirated V10 gasoline engine
  • Number of cylinders: 10
  • Maximum speed: 9,500 rpm
  • Performance: Up to 585 HP
  • Power-to-weight ratio: Approx. 2.1 kg/HP
  • 0 to 100 km/h: 3.2 s
  • Dimensions: 4,573 mm / 1,997 mm/ 1,171 mm (L/W/H)

Marco Wittmann & Sophia Flörsch

Marco Wittmann and Schaeffler will enter the third year of their partnership in 2021. Wittmann – a dyed-in-the-wool Franconian who grew up and still lives just a short distance from Schaeffler’s headquarters in Herzogenaurach – has now become a part of the Schaeffler family without whom it would no longer be complete. He has already brought home the DTM drivers’ title twice, which currently makes him one of the DTM’s most successful and experienced drivers.

Marco Wittmann makes regular visits to Schaeffler’s headquarters. “The partnership with a regional partner like Schaeffler is something special. Thanks to the close proximity to my home, we can regularly meet for a face-to-face talk in Herzogenaurach”, says Wittmann who is clearly delighted with the collaboration.

Marco Wittmann, DTM champion in 2014 and 2016
Marco Wittmann, DTM champion in 2014 and 2016
Sophia Flörsch starts her first DTM season.
Sophia Flörsch starts her first DTM season.

The coming DTM season may be the first one for Sophia Flörsch, but she is still one step ahead of all the other DTM drivers: She has already seen what the future of the DTM might look like together with Schaeffler. As part of the final DTM race of 2020, the Schaeffler brand ambassador drove the DTM Electric demonstrator car at the Hockenheimring – a vehicle that we might well see competing as part of a fully-electric racing series from 2023 onwards.

Sophia Flörsch has already made an impact, particularly in Formula 3 and in long-distance racing. In 2020, she finished in 13th place overall at the 24 Hours of Le Mans as part of an all-female team, which also put her in ninth place in the strongly-contested LMP2 category. The Schaeffler brand ambassador has also been involved in the increasingly popular sport of sim racing since 2020. She competes here in the VCO ProSIM SERIES, which brings together racing drivers from the real world and from e-sport.

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