Behr Hella Service
Behr Hella Service

The formula for the original DTM is reminiscent of the current TCR series

30 years ago, the name DTM was born and Kurt Thiim became champion in a BILSTEIN-equipped car

At long last, the recently launched international TCR has once again given us a truly affordable, production-based, touring car series. Some of the races are even being held within the prestigious Formula 1 environment, forming an appealing contrast to the elite class with its high-tech racing cars. TCR offers spectators a particularly varied field, in which they will rediscover a very wide range of car makes and types. BILSTEIN is supplying the VW, SEAT, Alfa and Opel racing cars with 2-way shock absorbers with compression and rebound adjustment, in accordance with the regulations. In its entirety, the touring car series is somewhat reminiscent of the early DTM, which followed on from the German Production Car Championship in 1986. The winner in the debut year was a truly exotic car, which back then, as now, probably only very few people had down as one to watch. Incidentally, this was in sharp contrast to the BILSTEIN gas-pressure shock absorbers, which were used across the board by numerous teams and vehicles, as is the case with the TCR.

The now world-famous Kurt Thiim, who won three out of nine races in 1986 and secured the championship title three decades ago, cannot be considered an outside bet in any way, shape or form. Rather, this refers to his car – a Rover Vitesse, the sporty, top-class version of the crude Rover SD1. In a field that was littered with Mercedes 190 2.3-16, BMW 325i and 635 CSi, Opel Manta GSE, Ford Sierra XR4 Ti, Volvo 240 turbo and lots of other cars, the British car seemed somewhat out of place right from the start. Even if you compare other exotic cars that were participating, such as the Ford Mustang, the Chevrolet Camaro or the Nissan Silvia.

This was not just due to the fact that the British car was far from a common sight on the streets, but also due to its unconventional design and the age of its construction. The SD1 won the title "Car of the Year 1977" – need we say more? Actually yes, we should also mention another stumbling block – the rigid rear axle, which had long since been replaced on many of the competitor vehicles by an independent suspension system. Even its predecessor the Rover P6 was more modern in many aspects. Yet, in conjunction with a solid shock absorber setup that included BILSTEIN components, the Vitesse really went all out to show the competitive field, which was significantly younger for the most part, just what it was capable of.

This comparison is in no way intended to detract from the ingenious SD1, which as a DTM racing car had a maximum speed of over 280 km/h and in some cases delivered more than 350 HP, but rather to show how exciting, varied and full of surprises the touring car scene was 30 years ago. The production-based aspect is also unusual: for example, the high-grade walnut veneer panelling could still be found in the cockpit of the racing car! The victory of the Vitesse also proves what could be achieved in those days, simply with a good driver and a successful suspension setup. At any rate, Kurt Thiim really put the British car through its paces three times in one season for the win – proving that this was no fluke. Following this grandiose career peak, the SD1 could then happily retire as a production car: that same year, it was replaced by the more modern, but also somewhat arbitrary Rover 800. Kurt Thiim certainly enjoyed a long, successful career. However, other names from the 1986 DTM season are also etched in our memories to this very day: Joachim Winkelhock along with Roland Asch, Kurt König, Bernd Schneider and Kris Nissen. Only Volker Weidler, who finished second behind Thiim on that occasion with his Mercedes 190E 2.3-16, has somewhat faded into obscurity.

Μνήμες του DTM στο TCR

chome L Sygrou 246 & Davaki
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cphone  +30 210 9531690-5
cfax  +30 210 9531696-7
cmail  info@electra-hellas.gr

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