What’s next for Thomas Preining in 2023? The contract of the Austrian Porsche works driver, who surprisingly fought for the title in his first DTM season with Timo Bernhard’s racing team, was extended shortly before Christmas. But now it could happen that Team Bernhard loses its hope.
As ‘Motorsport-Total.com’ has learned from various sources, Preining is a hot candidate for the Manthey racing team, who is looking for a new field of activity in the WEC after the end of the Porsche factory commitment and would like to get into the DTM.
The team founded by Olaf Manthey and led by the brothers Nicolas and Martin Raeder is considered a top Porsche address and is 51 percent owned by the manufacturer. In addition, you would not go into the DTM premiere year without experience, because numerous Manthey engineers were in action at SSR Performance in the DTM in 2022.
And Preining, who made the fight for the title exciting again in 2022 after a false start to the season with an impressive race to catch up and two victories this season, wants to become DTM champion in 2023. He also made that clear in an interview with ‘Motorsport-Total.com’.
Shortly after the serious accident at the season finale in Hockenheim, in which he suffered bruises, he set himself new goals. “Of course the disappointment was great, but that lasts for exactly three days. And then the dream of the 2023 title is already there. And that’s what I’m working towards,” says Preining.
Just two weeks after the DTM season finale, the man from Linz was in the Manthey team’s Porsche 911 GT3 R to compete in the eighth round of the Nürburgring long-distance series NLS together with Jaxon Evans. But Preining, who was still suffering from the pain of his rib injury, went off the track on the first lap and had to retire after an hour due to secondary damage.
After the race, Preining was self-critical and hoped for a comeback with Manthey: “It was a unique experience for me to drive the ‘Grello’. This has been my dream since I joined Porsche at the end of 2016 and I really appreciate and am very grateful for the opportunity. I hope I have another chance to do better in the future.”
When asked whether it wouldn’t make sense to stay with Bernhard after the successful first DTM season, especially as he is already very familiar with the environment from the year together in the ADAC GT Masters, Preining was reluctant.
“I can’t say anything about that at all,” he said. “I don’t know what Porsche’s plan is. I let the people who know better do their job. I’m waiting for a decision and I have complete confidence in Porsche that I’ll drive a cool program with interesting and hopefully successful projects.”
Shortly before Christmas, Preining and Porsche agreed to continue working together, the contract was only signed after the announcement. At Porsche’s traditional end-of-season celebration “Night of Champions” in Weissach on December 17th, it was announced that the Austrian – and by the way, Dennis Olsen – would continue to compete in the DTM for the cult brand.
With which team, but could not be fixed because the registration for 2023 has not yet started. Nevertheless, according to information from ‘Motorsport-Total.com’, Preining has clearly deposited at Porsche that he wants to be equipped with a package in 2023 with which he can become DTM champion. He therefore attaches great importance to having the best possible conditions.
In addition, the new DTM calendar with twisty circuits like Oschersleben and the Sachsenring should suit the new 911 GT3 R more, which is an additional motivation. Apart from the DTM, Preining also wants to contest the big 24-hour classics on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife and in Spa-Francorchamps again.
This article was written by Sven Haidinger
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The original of this article “DTM newcomer wants to sign top drivers and become title aspirants” comes from Motorsport-Total.com.