V8 Supercars and DTM are two of the top tin-top racing championships in the world. Racing at completely different sides of the world, they both produce brilliant racing and feature wonderfully powerful, aggressive cars. But they are also very different. Let’s take a look at how they compare.
V8 Supercars (simply known now as “Supercars”) is Australia’s premier touring car series and runs under international FIA regulations. It evolved from the Australian Touring Car Championship and has been run under the V8 Supercars banner since 1997. It has rapidly evolved since the late 1990s and developed a reputation for exciting on-track action.
26 drivers and 14 teams currently compete in V8 Supercars, as well as four constructors – Ford, Holden, Nissan and Volvo. Mercedes cars have also been run in recent years. This season there are 15 rounds of the championship, including one international event in Malaysia.
V8 Supercars visits some of Australia’s most famous tracks, including the Adelaide Street Circuit, Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit and the Mount Panorama Circuit, which is home to the famous Bathurst 1000. There has also already been a non-championship event at the Albert Park Circuit supporting the F1 Australian Grand Prix.
The race format is a little complicated, differing depending on the event. The SuperSprint, used for most of them, features a 120 kilometre race on Saturday and a 200km race on Sunday. Two 100km races on each day are used under the International SuperSprint format, while SuperStreet has a number of variations, with some featuring one race on each day and others two longer events spread over Saturday and Sunday.
There are also three endurance events, two of which focus on just one race on Sunday (including the legend that is the Bathurst 1000. The other has two 300km races over the weekend. Various point scales are used depending on the events and they are awarded to all cars that have covered 75 per cent of the race, and are running at the chequered flag.
Despite the vast majority of the V8 Supercar races taking place in Australia, it is shown on TV in over 100 countries and has a strong, loyal and evolving fanbase. The current car regulations, dubbed the “New Generation V8 Supercar”, were introduced in 2013 in a bid to cut costs and encourage more manufacturers to enter, which they did. They are lighter, more economical, more powerful and more agile than their predecessors.
The vehicles raced are very loosely based on their road-going counterparts. Only a few body panels are shared, as well as the lights, but the cars are made to resemble the road cars they are based on. Control parts are used to cut costs and are created by an independent manufacturer. All cars run them and include the chassis, roll cage, differential, brakes, cooling, fuel systems and rear suspension.
The cars are front-engined, rear-wheel drive and are powered by beautiful 5.0-litre, naturally aspirated V8 engines with electronic fuel injection. They produce around 650bhp. There is the option to use a generic engine provided by V8 Supercars but all of the teams run modified engines produced by manufacturers. The engines are limited to 7500rpm.
V8 Supercars runs with six-speed sequential transaxles, incorporating the differential and gearbox. The cars use triple plate clutches and run E85 fuel, with 112 litre tank capacity – larger with the new generation rules. On the aero front, the cars feature front and rear spoilers, splitters and side skits. These can be tweaked and modified by the teams.
The minimum weight including the driver is 1410 kilograms. Looking at dimensions, the cars measure 4890mm in length, 1880mm in width and 1220mm height. 18-inch wheels are used and the series runs with Dunlop tyres, with two slick compounds and a wet tyre.
The larger wheels enable for larger disc brakes to be used in the series. The 0-62mph time is around 3.4 seconds and cars can reach up to 185mph.
Now, let’s look into another top touring car series…
Like V8 Supercars, DTM evolved from a previous championship, the original Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft held from 1984 to 1996. The new DTM (named Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters) hit the race track in 2000, with the majority of rounds taking place in Germany and a handful of races taking place elsewhere in Europe.
Its roots are firmly in Germany, but it also visits exciting European race tracks like the Red Bull Ring, Zandvoort and the Hungaroring. There are nine rounds on the 2016 schedule, with two races at each event – a 40 minute Saturday race and a 60 minute Sunday race, featuring a mandatory pit stop.
The points system is exactly the same as Formula 1, with 25 for the win, 18 for second, 15 for third and so on. Mercedes and Opel were the two factory manufacturers in the early years of DTM, with Abt Sportsline running Audi TTs before the German marque entered as a factory entry in 2004. Opel exited in 2005 and BMW arrived in 2012.
Currently the Audi RS5 DTM, Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM and BMW M4 DTM are raced in the series, with each manufacturer fielding four teams of two drivers. The 24-car grid is slightly smaller than in V8 Supercars but the races are typically shorter. The format is uniform throughout the season. But they also share some similarities in the way they are run too, sticking to the tracks of their homeland and featuring manufacturer involvement.
The switch back to a two-race format and the new generation of cars, as well as some exciting drivers, have helped DTM move from relatively processional racing to exciting on-track action. It’s found a new lease of life and draws in top drivers like Paul di Resta, Marco Wittmann and Bruno Spengler, as well as young guns like Esteban Ocon, Antonio Felix da Costa and Tom Blomqvist.
Like V8 Supercars, DTM machines are front-engined, rear-wheel drive, and are powered by naturally-aspirated V8 engines, but in this case, they are 4.0-litre units restricted to 500bhp. Limited to 9000rpm, its 0-60mph time is around 3.0 seconds and the cars reach top speeds of 186mph.
They use six-speed semi-automatic sport gearboxes, with the transmission from Hewland and Xtrac. In a similar way to its touring car rival from Australia, DTM uses a number of common parts like brakes, transmission, tyres and other small features in order to cut costs. They run Hankook tyres with 18-inch wheels and two types of tyres, slicks and grooved wets.
While the cars may look like their road-going counterparts, very little is shared between them – really only the lights and roof sections.
They still very much resemble the cars on the roads but the chassis are purpose-built, closer to prototypes. The body is then put over the roll cage, with each manufacturer having its own detailed and intricate aerodynamic package, including rear wings, diffusers and side skirts.
The DTM series also uses DRS, in a similar way to F1. This made its debut in 2013 and has helped boost overtaking. 1110kg is the weight limit, including the driver, while measurements of 4650mm in length, 1950mm width and 1150mm height make them slightly shorter and lower, although they are wider than V8 Supercars.
So as you can see, both cars are similar in terms of performance and the two championships have similar approaches, but there are also striking differences. The main thing, though, is that they both produce intoxicating racing.
What motorsport championships do you want to see compared next? Let us know in the comments!