Is Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM good enough to follow its predecessors?
Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM is a latest version of the race car that represents the Stuttgart-based German manufacturer in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM). C63 DTM is just a new name of Mercedes-AMG C-Coupe, which entered the competition in 2012.
Four years after the introduction C-Coupe (or C63) has only one championship title and eleven victories, what is far far away from the success of its predecessors – 4-door race cars based on C-Class, which were used in the competition in two separate periods, first time from 1994 to 1996, and second time between 2004 and 2011. That old Mercedes C-Class is the most successful car in a history of DTM, with 85 victories in 159 races. C63 (or C-Coupe, whatever) has big boots to fill. Could it be so successful?
Coupe designed race cars returned to DTM in 2012
The current version of Mercedes’ DTM car, the C-Coupe DTM, was introduced during 2011 and debuted in DTM in 2012, together with two other coupe cars of rival manufacturers – BMW M4 DTM and Audi RS5 DTM.
New technology for better safety
All cars which debuted in 2012 DTM season, including C-Coupe, were developed and designed according to the new safety concept for 2012, which includes a state-of-the-art carbon fibre monocoque and a roll cage made of high-strength steel.
All safety-related components such as the fire extinguishing system and fuel tank have been incorporated into the monocoque. Each car is also equipped with six crash structures, designed and built to absorb impact energy and to protect the driver during the high deceleration in a crash.
The same four-liter V8 engines in all cars
To prevent some manufactures be advantageous over others, all DTM race cars were built according to strict rules, with almost similar aerodynamics and the same power units. Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM, which is a new name of C-Coupe since 2015, is 5010mm long, 1950mm wide and 1210 mm high. The minimum weight is 1120 kg.
The standard for all the manufacturers is to use the 4.0L V8 engine, and Mercedes officially declares the maximum power of 360 kW (490 hp) at 7500 rpm. The car features standard 6-speed transverse-mounted gearbox, rear-wheel drive and pneumatically operated sequential gear shift on steering wheel.
Frightening and aggressive design
The most impressive aerodynamics detail is a big rear wing, which increases the length of a car by 35cm. Special diffusers, flaps, underfloor and other details increase the aerodynamic efficiency of DTM cars to the perfection, so drivers commonly commented that those cars are more similar to the open-wheeled formulas than to touring cars. The important similarity to Formula One is a Drag Reduction System (DRS), which is in use since 2013 season.
The Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM was slightly redesigned for 2016 season. Because of current DTM regulations, the development was severely limited, so the engine, the chassis, the aerodynamics and the unit components were unchanged from the previous model. The regulations state that any modification below what is know as the ‘design line’ is not permitted, so Mercedes only adapted the aerodynamics of the vehicle above that line according to the shape of the new C-Class Coupe.
Three teams and eight drivers ready for 2016
Mercedes is entering 2016 DTM season with three teams and eight cars, same as in 2015. Since the introduction of the new car and BMW’s return to DTM in 2012, the season 2015 was the most successful for Mercedes. Pascal Wehrlein won the drivers’ title, the first and so far the only championship title of C-Coupe (C63).
Eleven victories in four seasons for C-Coupe DTM race car
In its debuting season, Mercedes-AMG C-Coupe DTM has won three races and Garry Paffett with two wins finished second in the 2012 DTM standings. Jamie Green added one more victory and finished third in the final classification.
Wehrlein champion, manufacturers’ title unreachable
After three seasons without titles Mercedes changed the name of C-Coupe and finally found the way to the top. In 2015, Pascal Wehrlein won the title with two wins and three podiums. HWA Team was also the best among teams while Mercedes finished third among manufacturers for the fourth year in a row.
In four seasons Mercedes-AMG C-Coupe (or C63) DTM collected 11 victories and just one title, so it’s still far from its successful predecessors which have record-breaking 85 wins on their account.
Klaus Ludwig and Bernd Schneider champions with C-Class
The original four-door AMG-Mercedes C-Class DTM race car was introduced in 1994, as a replacement for legendary AMG Mercedes 190E 2.5-16. In its debuting season in the old Deutche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft Mercedes C-Class was a championship winning car of Klaus Ludwig.
In 1995, Bernd Schneider won both DTM and International Touring Car Series. Schneider was second in the 1996 ITCC season and after that the competition was dismissed.
In 2004, Mercedes replaced CLK with C-Class
The new DTM started in 2000 and in 2004 the new AMG-Mercedes C-Class DTM came as a replacement for the AMG-Mercedes CLK DTM, in the season when coupes were replaced by four-door cars. The brand-new Audi A4 DTM was more successful in debuting season and Mercedes missed any of the titles, despite five victories in ten races.
Mercedes dominated in 2005 DTM season
In 2005, Mercedes took all the titles after eight wins in 11 races. Gary Paffet was the drivers’ champion, HWA Team was the best among teams and Mercedes was the best among three manufacturers.
Bernd Schneider champion again with new C-Class
One more successful season followed in 2006, with Bernd Schneider on the top. Opel left the competition after 2005 and since 2006, there were just Mercedes and Audi included. Audi drivers dominated in the following three seasons (2007-2009). Since 2007 Mercedes was using a second generation of C-Class in races and took manufacturers’ title in 2008 and 2009.
Paul di Resta – the last C-Class champion
In 2010, Mercedes again took the double glory, this time with Paul di Resta on the top of the drivers classification. In the final season of four-door DTM cars, Audi dominated and after that, the next chapter was opened with brand-new coupe cars in 2012.