MUNICH — The sanctioning body for the German Touring Car Championship (DTM) has awarded the race tire supply contract for the series to Michelin Motorsport, starting with the 2021 season.
The announcement is an abrupt about face for the DTM, since the series' organizer, ITR G.m.b.H., in 2019 had extended its contract with Hankook Tire & Technology Co. Ltd. — the series supplier since 2011 — through 2023.
The ITR did not comment on the reason or reasons for the abrupt change, and Hankook has not responded to queries for comment.
Michelin's supply deal will start April 7-8 at the series' first 2021 test session at Germany's Hockenheimring. The 2021 season is scheduled to start June 18 at Monza, Italy.
Michelin, according to ITR Chairman Gerhard Berger, "stands for top quality and absolute premium products that have not only been used on the road for decades, but also come first in racing."
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
"Michelin is delighted at the prospect of working with DTM," Julien Vial, Michelin's customer racing director, said.
"It is a truly international series that boasts an entry of world-class drivers and prestigious sports cars brands, and we are going to provide this fine field with the Michelin Pilot Sport GT S9M, which is engineered to deliver high performance and exceptional consistency."
The 2021 season is the first for the DTM under regulations that shift the series' car specifications to the international GT3 rules crafted by the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile and phase out the high-tech DTM-specific rules of the past decade.
The GT3 rules call for production-based cars weighing between 2,645 and 2,866 pounds with horsepower rating of 500 to 600 hp. Depending on the series, "balance of performance" formulae that adjust limits on horsepower, weight, engine management and aerodynamics are used to prevent a single manufacturer from becoming dominant in the class.
Among cars eligible for the DTM under the new are: Aston Martin, Audi, Bentley, BMW Chevrolet (Corvette), Ferrari, Honda, Lamborghini, Lexus, McLaren, Mercedes, Nissan, Porsche, etc., according to the DTM.
Under the series' previous regulations, DTM fields typically were filled by teams fielding either Audi, BMW or Mercedes models, with the car manufacturers being involved directly.
The DTM has scheduled eight race weekends this year at tracks in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. Each weekend will comprise a pair of DTM sprint races plus support races from additional DTM classes.
The 2021 DTM preview event was held using Hankook tires. Four car makers took part: Aston Martin, Ferrari, Lamborghini and Mercedes.
Somewhat ironically, Hankook is taking over the supply contract next year for one of Michelin's signature racing events, the ABB Formula E World Championship. The switch will coincide with the debut of Formula E's Gen3 spec race cars, which will be lighter and more powerful.