DTM drivers demand flashing lights for “fair” starts

DTM rules require drivers to line up in a two-by-two formation for race starts and restarts, with the start lights determining when the race can begin.

This has led to drivers attempting to anticipate starts by running out of line or holding back, leading to a pooling that many attributed to chaotic scenes in Saturday’s first race, which saw just 11 cars recover from multiple restarts after crashes came to the goal.

Porsche works driver Laurens Vanthoor told Motorsport.com that “70% of the field can’t see the lights when the race restarts”, “so we usually always split up”.

Sunday’s race start, which followed an additional briefing warning drivers about their behaviour, was a lot cleaner as Sheldon van der Linde said the series has clear expectations going forward.

However, many believe that more can be done in the future as teams and drivers have asked DTM to place more lights on the pit wall to improve their visibility.

Autosport understands that DTM has no plans to introduce turn signals at this time as series organizer ITR believes the start of race two shows that it is possible to have clean starts without them.

But championship leader Mirko Bortolotti, who qualified and finished second on Sunday, told Motorsport.com’s German-language sister title Motorsport-Total: “The most important thing is that everyone sees the lights.

“You have to find a solution where everyone in the field has a fair chance of knowing when it’s green.

“There’s no question that the tight formation is better, but we definitely need to see the lights.

“It doesn’t matter whether you’re on the front row of the grid. When you’re at the back, it’s really a big problem.”

The chaotic start to race 1 at the Norisring

Photo: DTM

The DTM is on a summer break ahead of its next round at the Nurburgring on August 27-28 and Grasser-Lamborghini driver Bortolotti said it was important that a solution was found by then.

“What the solution is, I’ll gladly leave to those responsible, but we have to find one,” he added.

Vanthoor said race starts without repeater lights continued to be a “lottery.”

“If they want us to behave professionally, they should act professionally and find a solution so that every driver can see the lights and it’s not a lottery, which isn’t fair,” said the Belgian.

“I think it’s a healthy mix of what the DTM wants and what it gives us and what we do for it. This isn’t rocket science.

“It costs money, but you buy 20 lights and hang them on the side of the wall to the start-finish point and the problem is solved.

“You have to solve small problems like this.”

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