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“Are not champions”: Why Preining is giving up the number 1 starting number

DTM champion Thomas Preining will start the DTM season with the number 91 as he did in 2023: What the thinking behind it is and why he prefers DTM to LMDh

DTM Champion Thomas Preining will not start the 2024 season with the number 1, but with the number 91, just like last year. But why did the 25-year-old Austrian pass up the chance to adorn his “Grello” with the championship number this year?

“I already said in Hockenheim: Now we’re champions for two months – and then we’re nothing”, “That’s our mindset. We now have to earn the number 1 spot again and work at least as hard as last year – with the same focus. That’s why we’re driving with the number 91 this year and not the number 1.”

Preining admits, however, that there were internal discussions at Manthey EMA about the topic and that the appeal of driving with the championship number was great

“Some of us would have liked to drive with the number 1”

“There were certainly some of us who would have liked to drive with the number 1,” says the Manthey EMA driver. “Not everyone is allowed to do that – and that’s something special. You never know how often you will have the opportunity to drive with the number 1, but for me it was clear from the start.”

Apart from that, he identifies with his starting number 91 – a reference to the classic Porsche 911 model line. “And it’s good for the whole team spirit when we drive with the 91, because the thought has to be that we are not champions,” emphasizes Preining, who is fully motivated to defend his title.

Why Preining currently prefers DTM to LMDh

Apropos – according to the Porsche works driver, it was his free decision to compete in the DTM again in 2024 instead of focusing, for example, on Porsche’s attractive prototype works project with the LMDh car, which he has already had the opportunity to test three times.

“At the moment, the focus is fully on the DTM – and that was also my wish,” explains Preining. “I have to thank Porsche for that: they gave me a free choice and I opted for the DTM because I really enjoy it, because I feel comfortable there, because I work very well with the team and want to defend the title. “

Apart from that, he enjoys the sprint format. “It’s all about qualifying, it’s about the duel – wheel to wheel the whole race. I just love that. And there’s currently nothing that stands above it for me this season. My big goal for 2024 is to defend the title. Or to win it once again. “

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