Marginal Column

DTM 2016. How Bosch is getting the DTM on track this year.

  • In 2016, DTM vehicles will once again feature Bosch engine management, displays, and other components
  • “DTM benefits from the motorsport expertise Bosch has built up over decades,” says Walter Mertes, Board Member for Marketing/Sponsoring at ITR
  • Bosch both optimizes series-production technology for motor racing and designs components especially for the DTM
  • Bosch has a 115-year-long tradition of involvement in motor sports – with its first racing victory in 1901

Abstatt/Hockenheim – They are rivals on the racing track, but fundamentally they all come from the same family. What race cars such as the Audi RS5 DTM, the BMW M4 DTM, and the Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM have in common is Bosch technology. The Bosch engine management system beats like a heart under the hood, and every driver in the internationally popular DTM German Touring Car Masters series has a Bosch display before his eyes in the cockpit. “Our components precisely control engine function and ensure that drivers are able to monitor the technology. For spectators, this means exciting motorsport to the highest technical standards,” says Dr. Klaus Boettcher, vice president of Bosch Motorsport. Working with Bosch means that the DTM has a leader in technology by its side. “Bosch has been with us from the very beginning. As a supplier of technology and services it has been our trusted partner for years now,” says Walter Mertes, Board Member for Marketing/Sponsoring at ITR. “As for the components employed, we benefit as a racing series from the motorsport expertise that Bosch has built up over decades.”

Motor racing and series-production technology

Ever since the new DTM began in 2000, the racing series has relied upon Bosch technology. In addition to the engine management system and displays, Bosch also supplies starters, generators, wiring harnesses, and windshield wiper direct drives. The company supplies these as standard components for every race car. These motorsport components are developed and manufactured at the development center in Abstatt near Heilbronn. This location is home to Bosch Motorsport, the Bosch group’s specialist division for motor racing technology. Its engineers are completely redesigning the DTM engine management system, display, and wiring harness. “DTM engine control units are different from those in road vehicles. That’s why DTM components are custom products, which we develop on a bespoke basis and manufacture in very small numbers,” Boettcher says. In addition to the hardware, the Bosch engine management software is also a special development aimed only at motor racing. This software allows teams to make individual adjustments in the touring cars to a wide variety of parameters such as ignition and fuel injection, within the limits permitted by DTM regulations; it also allows the teams to analyze the data from completed laps. Starters, generators, and windshield wiper direct drives are largely based on series-production technology. The motorsport engineers in Abstatt are improving the performance of these components and making them more resilient against dirt, vibration, heat, and moisture. To do this, they are collaborating closely with the prototype departments of Bosch plants in Germany and around the world. “When it comes to components, every team in the DTM benefits from Bosch’s know-how and its precision large-scale series production,” explains Boettcher.

115-year-long tradition of involvement in motor sports

Bosch’s involvement in motor racing has a long tradition. The first racing victories with Bosch technology on board go back to the Nice-Salon-Nice race in 1901 and the Gordon Bennett Cup race of 1903. Back then, Mercedes race cars equipped with Bosch magneto ignition went from one triumph to the next. Another big moment came in 1954. A Mercedes Benz 2.5-liter formula race car won the French Grand Prix with a Bosch mechanical direct gasoline injection system that was being used for the first time in motorsport. A few years later, in 1965, a breakerless transistor ignition system was used in races for the first time in the Porsche 906 – and shortly afterwards, in 1968, came an experimental Antilock Braking System (ABS) in the Porsche Bergspyder. At the start of the 1980s, Bosch combined the direct gasoline injection system and ignition system to create the Motronic electronic engine control system. This was refined for Formula 1, the result of which was the World Championship title in 1983 for Brabham BMW. From 2001 to 2005, all overall winners at the 24-hour Le Mans race were using the company’s electronic direct gasoline injection system. From 2006 to 2011, all the vehicles that won on the Circuit de la Sarthe were equipped with Bosch common-rail injection systems – while in 2012 saw the first win for a diesel-hybrid race car for the first time, which also featured Bosch Motorsport technology. “Then as now, our automotive technology is successful even under the extreme conditions of motor racing,” Boettcher says. That is what his more than one hundred motorsport developers will continue working to maintain in the future, too.