Norisring: the home race for ABT Sportsline in the DTM

With a fresh tailwind from the victory in Zandvoort, ABT Sportsline will be heading to Nuremberg for their DTM home race (both live on ProSieben from 1 PM on Saturday and Sunday). ABT driver Ricardo Feller is second in the standings, just four points behind the overall DTM leader. His teammate Kelvin van der Linde wants to make up ground in the championship at the Norisring and translate his strong race performance into corresponding results.

This is not unrealistic. In the four DTM races with GT3 sports cars so far, van der Linde has started from the front row of the grid at the Norisring three times – even from pole position on Saturday last year. However, the South African, who lives near Kempten, has so far failed to score a podium in the DTM at the Norisring. His best result is a fourth place in Saturday’s race in 2021.

Youngster Feller drove in the first city race of his career at the Norisring last year. Right from his very first start on the 2.3-kilometre short street circuit between Dutzendteich and Max Morlock Stadium, the Swiss scored points.

ABT Sportsline has celebrated three victories at the Norisring so far: in 2002 with Laurent Aiello, in 2016 with Edoardo Mortara and Nico Müller. Last year, René Rast was third on the podium on both days.

Martin Tomczyk: “We have prepared meticulously”

“The Norisring is our home race and an important race for ABT Sportsline,” says ABT Motorsport Director Martin Tomczyk. “We have prepared ourselves meticulously. The pit gantries are extremely close together at the Norisring, we simulated that and trained intensively. At Zandvoort, we had the fastest pit stop on Sunday. We want to maintain this performance – ideally with both cars. We head to Nuremberg with a lot of positive energy after Ricardo’s victory at Zandvoort. But we also know that the Norisring can be unpredictable because of its layout.”

Ricardo Feller: “Norisring weekend is a mega event”

“I drove at the Norisring for the first time last year,” says Ricardo Feller. “I really enjoyed my first city street race. I now know the track and what to expect. That’s why I’m looking forward to the Norisring weekend even more. It’s a mega event and something very special. Even though it’s still very early in the season, it’s great to be among the leaders in the championship. We had a good start to the season and less bad luck than last year. I hope it continues like this.”

Kelvin van der Linde: “Atmosphere is very special”

“The track itself might not be as challenging as Zandvoort or the Sachsenring, but the whole spectacle around it makes the Norisring an iconic race that I’m really looking forward to,” says Kelvin van der Linde. “The atmosphere with the many fans is very special and gives all the drivers a good feeling and extra motivation. I’ve usually been very strong at the Norisring in qualifying so far, but haven’t been able to translate that into race results. So far this season, it’s been the other way round. Now it’s a case of combining the two.”

ABT driver Kelvin van der Linde about ...

... the specifics of the Norisring: “It’s particularly important to hit the braking points accurately – especially because we drive with ABS in the GT3 cars and the software regulates the braking heavily. In qualifying, it’s important to get all three sectors together perfectly in one lap. In the race, it’s about staying calm, not making contact with anything and not damaging the car.”

... the coolest section: “I enjoy the chicane – the second and third corners – the most. That’s where you can make the most time as a driver. So far, I’ve always managed to find the last half a tenth of a second there. I think everyone has knocked a mirror off there at some point. If that hasn’t happened to you at the Norisring, then you’re not pushing hard enough.”

... the best overtaking opportunity: “The best chance is right after the start or the pit stops, when everyone is on cold tyres. Then it works best in the first two corners. The strength of our car is more on the brakes and in the corners. That’s why overtaking is very difficult for us at the Norisring. Because of this, it’s all the more important to have a good qualifying session.” 

... the best spectator spot: “I would sit on the stone grandstand at start and finish. The atmosphere there is extremely cool. I think every motorsport fan gets goosebumps there.”

... the high demands on the material: “The stress at the Norisring is extreme, especially for the brakes. They are at their limit and overheat, especially now in summer with these high temperatures. You have to be a bit more conservative in the race and pay attention to the material.”

Download video: A Norisring lap with ABT driver Kelvin van der Linde

Did you know that ...

... former FC Bayern Munich star Thomas Helmer and Michael Köllner, former coach of 1. FC Nuremberg and current coach of FC Ingolstadt 04, are guests of ABT Sportsline at the Norisring?

... Thomas Helmer will experience the Norisring as a passenger of Markus Winkelhock in the innovation taxi from ABT partner Schaeffler?

... after skiing and beach sailing, a new challenge awaits the two ABT DTM drivers? Ricardo Feller and Kelvin van der Linde will take on Lea Paulick and Kerstin Bogenschütz from 1. FC Nuremberg, who have just been promoted to the 1st Bundesliga, in a penalty shoot-out.

... on Thursday, numerous ice hockey players from the Nuremberg Ice Tigers Juniors will visit ABT Sportsline’s DTM team at the Norisring? 

... Daniel Abt will be taking guests around the Norisring in a CUPRA race taxi on Saturday? 

... ABT CEO Thomas Biermaier got up at 4:30 AM local time on both Saturday and Sunday at the Formula E race in Portland to watch the DTM races in Zandvoort via a livestream?

... ABT Motorsport Director Martin Tomczyk followed the Formula E race in Portland in the middle of the night from Zandvoort?  

... Head of Sports Marketing Harry Unflath invited ABT Sportsline’s DTM partners to a workshop at Sonax in Neuburg before the Norisring weekend and most of the partners will travel directly on to the Norisring from there?

... the team celebrated Ricardo Feller’s victory at Zandvoort on Sunday evening with a dinner at a beach club in Zandvoort and ABT Motorsport Director Martin Tomczyk postponed his return flight especially for this?