What is the DTM?
"Race on Sunday, sell on Monday", the old adage that if you race and win on Sunday, customers will come and buy your cars on Monday. DTM followed this formula, as the models racing could be bought in road car form.
DTM stands for Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft (German Touring Car Championship) and was introduced in 1984. It has a complex history which continued till the end of 1995, where DTM became part of the International Touring Car Series. However, at the end of 1996 DTM stopped altogether.
Thankfully, DTM was reintroduced in 2000, only this time standing for Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters. The racing cars still replicate road cars, but are much more heavily race prepared. Below, we look at some of our favourites throughout history.
BMW E30 M3
BMW M happens to be one of the most sought after performance car marques available, and in 1986 a pivotal part of the company's history was created with the birth of the the very first BMW M3, in the form of the glorious E30.
With BMW producing enough in order to go racing, the E30 M3 was let loose for the very first time in DTM in 1987 with Eric van de Poele at the wheel. With 127 points, the BMW E30 M3 won DTM at the first time of asking, with other E30 M3s finishing in 3rd, 4th, and 5th also, showcasing the strength of the E30 M3.
In 1989, it was time for Roberto Ravaglia to pilot an E30 M3 to the DTM Championship win. With high finishes in the following years from other E30 M3s, the high points scores of the M3 helped cement it as the most successful touring car ever.
Mercedes AMG 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II
Another colossus in the German car game, Mercedes-Benz/Mercedes-AMG also have an illustrious history when it comes to motor racing, and the 190E is another legend of the sport. It took its first victory in 1992, with Klaus Ludwig at the wheel.
With cool branding in the form of fashion house Hugo Boss, car care brand Sonax, and contrasting Shell oil branding, the 190E looked effortlessly cool, too.
1992 was a great season for Mercedes-Benz and DTM, as along with taking top spot, Kurt Thiim, Bernd Schneider and Keke Rosberg piloted various Mercedes-Benz 190Es to 2nd, 3rd, and 5th places respectively.
Alfa Romeo 155
An Italian manufacturer in DTM? Alfa Romeo were not scared to pitch their mighty 155 against the success of the BMW E30 M3 and Mercedes-Benz 190E. And with a rich history for racing, which involved a certain Enzo Ferrari, the Italians fancied some of that DTM success.
In 1993, the Alfa Romeo 155 in the hands of Nicola Larini took the DTM Championship after a series of new rule changes which meant engines could be no larger than 2.5-litres, and cylinders could be no more than six.
The car also looked incredible, thanks to its standout red Alfa Romeo logo livery and of course its menacing quad exhaust pipe set up - which the rest of the DTM field got used to seeing on a frequent basis.
Audi V8 Quattro
Audi stepped into DTM in 1990, after Ford dropped out. With BMW and Mercedes-Benz using 4-cylinder engines, Audi decided to use their 8-cylinder to give them a competitive edge, and their Quattro all-wheel drive.
It worked a treat, with the Audi V8 winning the DTM Championship back-to-back at the first time of asking in 1990 in the hands Hans-Joachim Stuck, and the year after with Frank Biela at the wheel.
As engines go, a V8, although heavy, certainly packed a punch in this Audi saloon and ensured BMW were not just the only German manufacturer having all the fun and success in DTM racing.
Mercedes-Benz C-Class V6/CLK
After BMW dominated DTM in the late 1980s, and with Audi taking victories in the early 1990s, it was time for Mercedes-Benz to get in on the action. After Ludwig's win in 1992 in the 190E, the German driver took top spot again for Mercedes-Benz in 1994 in the silver 'D2' sponsored C-Class.
In the following season, it was Bernd Schneider's turn to pilot the now iconic 'D2' sponsored car to victory with its contrasting yellow door mirrors. With a single wiper, black wheels, and black spoiler, the contrasting 'Merc' looked the business, and with Bernd Schneider at the wheel, the Bernd masterclass was just in its infancy.
After DTM rose from the ashes in 2000, Bernd Schneider was behind the wheel of a Mercedes-Benz yet again, in the form of a more modern and beefier CLK, with the familiar 'D2' livery. He won the DTM in 2000, 2001 and 2003. Mercedes-Benz were officially back.
BMW M3/M4 DTM
After the success of the BMW E30 M3 in the late eighties, it took until till 2012 for BMW to win the DTM again, in the form of an E92 M3 driven by Bruno Spengler. The sinister black paint and BMW Bank livery made for an intimidating look.
With a legendary history in motorsport, BMW M were at it again when they took their road-going M4 and made it even more evil for use in the DTM. It won the DTM Championship at the first time of asking in 2014 in the hands of Marco Wittman, but it was his Championship winning M4 in 2016 which is one of our favourites.
This is due to the M4's cool livery, which uses the iconic Red Bull branding with a dark blue finish.
Since 1990 and 1991, Audi had no other DTM success, so when the DTM was born again in 2000, they wanted to get back to winning ways.
It only took until 2002 when Laurent Aiello kept Mercedes-Benz legend Bernd Schneider at bay in his bright yellow and now iconic Vodafone/Hasseröder liveried Audi TT-R.
The Audi TT was an instant design icon upon launch in 1998, and in racing car form it takes the elegant lines of the TT and makes it look like it has been on a training regime with Arnold Schwarzenegger back in his prime. Team this with the yellow paint livery with contrasting red details and its sure one epic looking DTM car.
Porsche 911 GT3 R
But it is the one from Stuttgart which has made our list, due to its legendary history in motorsport. The Porsche 911 GT3 R just looks at home on a racetrack, especially in this bright livery.
It is early days in DTM for Porsche, but if their racing heritage is anything to go by, it should not be long before we see this legendary brand taking podiums like that of their German neighbours.
Find that bit of DTM flair in your next car, with Stratstone
Whether you are looking for a road-going BMW M car, like the M3 or M4 used in DTM, or are after a Porsche 911 GT3 similar to the DTM racing car, or maybe it is a Mercedes-Benz C-Class or Mercedes-AMG car that is more your style, your local Stratstone retailer can help.