25 years of ABT Sportsline in the DTM: kick-off at Oschersleben

A special DTM season begins for ABT Sportsline this coming weekend at the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben: it is the 25th for the team from Kempten since it joined the racing series in 2000.

“The DTM was and is Germany’s most important racing series,” says Hans-Jürgen Abt, CEO of the ABT Group. “We have shaped it as a team and celebrated many great successes. I think most motorsport fans know us through the DTM. These three letters still have great appeal today. Even though the cars have changed over the years, the DNA of the series has always remained the same. The DTM stands for tough sprint races at the highest level. I’m really looking forward to our 25th season and the season opener in Oschersleben.”
Five ABT victories and some historic moments at Oschersleben
ABT Sportsline scored its first points in the DTM with Laurent Aiello, James Thompson and Christian Abt on 24 September 2000 on the race track near Magdeburg. In 2004, Tom Kristensen celebrated his first DTM victory at Oschersleben. Four years later, Timo Scheider achieved his long overdue first triumph in the DTM. Both won a second time for ABT Sportsline at Oschersleben. Mattias Ekström’s winning drive in the wet race in 2011 is also unforgettable: the Swede crossed the finish line with a lead of more than 42 seconds. It was ABT Sportsline’s fifth victory in 16 DTM races at Oschersleben to date.
Martin Tomczyk: “We have prepared intensively”
“Of course, there are a lot of memories from such a long time,” says ABT Motorsport Director Martin Tomczyk. “Things didn’t go perfectly for us at Oschersleben last year, so I’m a little cautious about making a forecast. The starting field in the DTM is so strong that everything simply has to fit. We have prepared intensively, streamlined the team structure a little and have some new people in the team. The drivers are happy with their cars. Our Audi is a constant. The biggest unknowns are actually the new rain tyres.”

Kelvin van der Linde: “Proud to be on the grid in a Red Bull car for the first time”
“I’ve been a DTM fan for most of my life and first watched the DTM on TV when I was six or seven years old,” says Kelvin van der Linde. “One of my great role models has always been Mattias Ekström, who became champion in 2007 with the number 3 in the Red Bull car from ABT. I hope that’s a good omen for me. I’m very proud to be competing in a Red Bull car for the first time. The car not only looks great, it also felt really good during the tests. We will only see where we stand in qualifying at Oschersleben. In any case, we have prepared well.”
Ricardo Feller: “The car looks awesome”
Ricardo Feller also likes his new company car. “The car looks awesome,” says the Swiss driver. “The guys in Kempten did a great job over the winter and set my car up perfectly again. It felt good from the very first lap. However, I didn’t expect anything else. The co-operation with my new race engineer Nils Henning is also working well. That means we are ready for Oschersleben. I don’t particularly like the track, but I’ve always been good there so far – that’s why I actually like it again ...”
Once again this year, ProSieben will be broadcasting all DTM races live (Saturday and Sunday from 1 p.m.). Tickets for the DTM are available at www.dtm.com
The two ABT drivers on the track at Oschersleben
Do you like the track?
Kelvin: I’ve always liked Oschersleben, even though my highlights on the DTM calendar tend to be the Sachsenring and Hockenheim.
Ricardo: The circuit is relatively small. But that’s cool in a way. I like the go-kart feeling. But there could be a bit more high-speed corners.
Which section do you like best?
Ricardo: I think the last part is really cool, after the back straight the left-right-right.
Kelvin: Sector 2 is very technical, very demanding. Especially the chicane before the back straight. The car has to jump over the kerbs. That’s particularly tricky in qualifying.
Oschersleben is regarded as a track where overtaking is difficult ...
Ricardo: Overtaking is very difficult, but it was still possible last year.
Kelvin: You can overtake, but not always with all four wheels on the road. Nevertheless, qualifying is very important. The top 5 has to be the goal. 
Your best Oschersleben experience so far?
Kelvin: I won my first ADAC GT Masters race there in 2014 with Christian Abt. 
Ricardo: It’s also a victory for me in the ADAC GT Masters.

Did you know that ...
… Hans-Jürgen Abt, CEO of the ABT Group, will be following the DTM season opener in Oschersleben live on site?
… ABT Head of Sports Marketing Harry Unflath was able to win a new partner for the DTM team shortly before the start of the season? KEUK Medientechnik is a specialist for innovative hotel TV systems and infotainment solutions.
… ABT Sportsline is organising a Fan Challenge on its social media channels to mark the 25th anniversary of the DTM? Whoever displays the coolest ABT fan banner at the track on Friday or Saturday will be allowed to watch qualifying on Sunday in the ABT Sportsline pits.
… fans can have a virtual duel with Kelvin van der Linde at DTM 2024? The ABT driver will set a target time with his ABT Audi R8 LMS GT3 evo II in the simulator in the Schaeffler Lounge in the paddock. 
… the team practised several hundred pit stops at ABT Sportsline’s motorsport centre in Kempten before the start of the season?   
… Nils Henning may be new to ABT Sportsline as a race engineer, but he already led Ricardo Feller to the ADAC GT Masters title win in 2021?
… Steve Bady, previously chief mechanic on Kelvin van der Linde’s car, is the new technical coordinator of the DTM team?
… ABT partner Schaeffler is expecting some prominent guests at Oschersleben, including former national footballer Torsten Frings, track cyclist Robert Förstemann and DJ Tomekk who will be DJing at the Schaeffler promotion area in the paddock on Saturday at 6 p.m.?
... Football world champion Kalle Riedle will be a guest of ABT Sportsline at Oschersleben and enjoy a ride in the Schaeffler DTM Innovation Taxi?
… Kelvin van der Linde is planning to take part in the Wings for Life World Run in Munich on 5 May?
… the South African is driving four different racing cars in four different racing series in just five weeks? 
… ABT driver Tom Kristensen has always been particularly strong at Oschersleben and has been dubbed the “King of Oschersleben” similar to his title “King of Le Mans”?
… that is why the ABT team presented Kristensen with the crown, sceptre and mink on the grid at Oschersleben in 2005 immediately after his seventh Le Mans victory?