While the Audi R18 was foiled at the Petit Le Mans race by Peugeot for the third year in a row, the German automaker did have reason to celebrate a major road race victory on the east side of the Atlantic Ocean. In the second to last event in the popular DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters) series, a 2.517-mile road course in Valencia, Spain hosted what was the race weekend Audi Sport Team Phoenix driver Martin Tomczyk secured the 2011 DTM Championship. In a dominant race where Audi A4 sedans took the top six spots, Audi has one race remaining in an effort to capture a team championship in DTM. The ABT Sportsline organization is 5 points ahead of a Mercedes-Benz heading into a late October race at the Hockenheim track.
Since 2009, the technical regulations for the DTM Series have been frozen in the interests for controlling costs for competitors. For the upcoming 2012 series, the series is allowing the entrance of new cars, opening the door for German carmaker BMW to join Mercedes-Benz and Audi. For the existing program fielded by Audi, the auto company hopes the blow the doors open on the competition with two fewer doors. Campaigning a car based on the A4 sedan since 2004, Audi is set to unleash a new DTM race vehicle based on the A5 two-door.
Presented as the 2012 race machine, the Audi A5 DTM was revealed ahead of the past Frankfurt Motor Show. More than a year and a half in development as the R17 project, the two-door Audi A5 DTM car measures 5.01 meters (197.24 inches) in total length and is 1.95 meters (76.77 inches) in width. Compared to the 2012 model year Audi A5, the A5 DTM car is more than 15 inches longer and 3.77 inches wider for race track competition. In compliance with rules of the DTM sanctioning body, the Audi A5 racer rides within a mandated 2,750 millimeter (108.27 inch) wheelbase.
A departure from the four-door A4, the Audi A5 DTM for 2012 exhibits the refined exterior of the street vehicles. The new body structure created through the combination of carbon fiber and steel also sees the additional use of aluminum for suspension parts. Adhering to new aerodynamic regulations as well as to take advantage to improved airflow sciences, the Audi A5 DTM where a larger rear wing. Overall, Audi says the design is also more resistant to damage due to race contact (fender-to-fender contact is a main ingredient in DTM racing).
Along with the constraints for wheelbase length, other technical requirements of the motorsport series meant Audi needed to build the 2012 A5 DTM race around over 50 components that are shared among the other automakers. Meant for safety and a method for controlling costs, the new Audi is able to boast a total cost reduction of more than 40 percent over the previous A4 race car. While the DTM series preserves their exclusive tire supplier deal with Hankook and electronic control units from Bosch, this racing organization is careful to ward off the runaway costs that killed the previous edition of the European road racing category.
One of the ways Audi was able to control the price on the new A5 DTM is to reuse the tried and proven four-valve V-8 engine. Producing around 460 horsepower, the Audi A5 DTM will feature a new six-speed gearbox. For 2012, the Audi A5 DTM car will be more driver-friendly with a steering wheel paddle-shifter.
As Audi feverishly strides to compete with BMW and Mercedes-Benz in the sales marketplace, the fight in the 2012 DTM Series should be just as aggressive.
Information source: Audi AG, Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters
Photo source: Audi AG