How the Aston Martin dream in the DTM fell through and how hard it was for manager Dennis Rostek to place his protégé Nicki Thiim in the T3 Lamborghini in the DTM
Behind the scenes, there was a long struggle for Aston Martin to enter the DTM in the 2022 season. In the middle of it all: Dennis Rostek, head of the management agency Pole Promotion, and Aston Martin works driver Nicki Thiim, who is under contract to him and whose dream of a DTM cockpit ended up coming true at Lamborghini team T3.
However, according to the Dane, he had hoped “until the last minute” that Aston Martin would start in the DTM after all. And Rostek also confirms that the variant with the Lamborghini only took shape later.
“Initially, it was all about Aston Martin entering the DTM this year,” says Rostek. “I also think that Aston Martin definitely belongs in this racing series, but no agreement was reached.” Despite great efforts, the posh British brand had in the end “decided to heavily protect two other racing series. “
Fight over clearance: “English a bit stubborn “
By this, Rostek can only mean the Nürburgring Endurance Series NLS (formerly VLN) and the GT World Challenge Europe (GTWCE), because there is no Aston Martin on the grid in the ADAC GT Masters either.
On the Nürburgring-Nordschleife, however, a Vantage GT3 from the ProSport team will be competing this year. And in the GTWCE endurance series, the British Beechdean-AMR team is even fielding two Vantage GT3s, one of them with the top line-up of Nicki Thiim and his factory driver colleagues Maxime Martin and Marco Sorensen.
But how did Rostek get Aston Martin factory driver Thiim to join Lamborghini Team T3 in the end? “I then simply took a run-up and asked for a release. At first they smiled tiredly,” he describes the reaction of the Aston Martin Racing decision-makers. And Thiim also confirms that it was “of course not” a matter of course that he would get a release: “The English are a bit stubborn, but it all went well. “
Agreement on release not until mid-March
Which may also have been due to Rostek’s persistence, as the ex-racing driver dreamed of bringing Thiim, his fourth protégé after Rene Rast and the Van der Linde brothers, into the DTM. “I didn’t let up,” he recounts. “We then drilled and did and did for so long” before there was “an agreement” in the week before the announcement on 22 March.
“Jens and Dennis lost the last few hairs, because the negotiations were already tough,” Nicki Thiim grins with relief, referring to Rostek and T3 team boss Jens Feucht. “But now we’re here and I’m super happy. “
The Dane, whose father Kurt Thiim himself was DTM champion in 1986 in the Rover Vitesse and one of the most successful drivers of the old DTM, has been dreaming of the traditional series “for 20 years”, according to his own words. But it was only the end of Class 1 that made the dream realistic.
Thiim’s DTM dream already seemed to be over
“When Gerhard Berger said that they were switching to GT3, the topic of even competing in the DTM came up for the first time,” he refers to the previous year. “Before that, it was already ticked off, the dream was over.”
First, Martin Kohlhaas’ Racing One team made an effort to bring a Vantage GT3 to the start in 2021, then Thiim was also a topic at T3 as a Lamborghini driver, but in the end the team went with Esteban Muth and Esmee Hawkey, who will now be Thiim’s teammate, for the premiere season.
Contact never broke off, however – and this year, too, the T3 team was quickly on hand when the Aston Martin option, this time with Toksport WRT, came to nothing. “Jens has always stood by because it was also his dream to do something together,” said Nicki Thiim.
“That’s why I’m happy about Jens’ trust, because the project got off the ground very late. And we are clearly behind the others in terms of time, but we don’t let that dampen our spirits and are still very motivated. And I’m sure it will be really good. “