Not Belgium, but Britain and Germany inspired FIA to create new rules for touring cars - but strange enough, group A and group N were not replaced.
Germany wanted cost-reduction; the 500-series of cars were expensive to build and hard to sell. A formula which only was based on the outer form, and with mandatory 4-or 6 cylinder 2.5 litre engines would be relatively cheap - so they thought. BMW, Audi, Mercedes and Alfa Romeo would contest the basically national German championship. Although BMW and Audi had finished prototypes, neither took part in the championship - it was to be an Alfa versus Mercedes battle, the few privateers in Mustangs or BMW M3's didn't have a chance. The 1993 championship was better than expected, with a fine performance of Nicola Larini on the old Nürburgring as the climax.
Alas, things would go wrong - and very wrong indeed. The old DTM already had ABS adapted for racing; but the electronic circus, freshly banned from Formula 1, now fully unfolded. 4-wheel drive, ABS, electronic differentials, automatic gearboxes, active suspension, traction control, monocoque chassis, push- or pullrod suspension - you name it, the DTM had it. Opel had joined late in 1993 - with a 4-wheel drive Calibra. The DTM went "on tour" first in Europe, later, as a sort of international championship parallel to the DTM, they went to Japan and Brazil. Predictably, Alfa and Opel pulled out at the end of 1996, leaving Mercedes alone. Germany went on with class 2, which had run side-to-side with the DTM for years already. Guess what? With BMW and Audi as the main contenders.
1. De Jong, F, History of the European Touring Car Championship & Other International Touring Car Races: Part 5b: Epilogue, Touring car racing after 1988, Fia Class 1 and Class 2; 2010.
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