The Audi A5 captured two of those wins in the 2012 DTM Series; both with Italian driver Edoardo Mortara at the wheel. Mortara victories were the only Audi triumphs at the end of race weekends in the 2012 DTM Series. Compared to the 2011 season where Audi vehicles claimed a driver’s and team championship, 2012 was probably not the year the German premium car brand was bracing for with the Audi A5 DTM. When it comes to current motorsport history, Audi’s attention on the top spot has propelled the Le Mans prototype sports car program and most recently the Audi R8 Grand Am to success after relatively short struggles. Though the technical rules of DTM are frozen (preventing any mechanical or electronic enhancements to the Audi racecar carried over from 2012), the automaker believes a simple change in the vehicle’s personality for 2013 could be the kick-start to a more successful DTM season.
Instead of representing the A5 coupe nameplate, Audi has chosen to brand the 2013 DTM Series racecar with the RS 5 badge. Largely a symbolic name change, Audi’s choice for using the RS 5 on the 2013 DTM challenger actually relates more to the street-going model than it did to last year. Unlike with the A5 name, the RS 5 production car and the Audi DTM machine share the trait of V8 powerplants. While the engines differ by several degrees, the production and the race powerplants linked to the Audi RS 5 badge feature similar performance credentials. Belting out 450 horsepower, the Audi RS 5 coupe is separated by only a few horses from the DTM spec vehicle. In addition to engine power, both Audi vehicles are also equipped with sophisticated manual-type transmissions tailored to optimal acceleration and speed. All and all, the rebranding of Audi’s DTM car is instantly effective against the presence of the BMW M3 and Mercedes-Benz’s AMG moniker in the series.
Moving towards the start of the 2013 DTM season, the model name change is a good opportunity to highlight a major addition to the driving line-up of Audi Sport’s DTM operation. Coming from the Mercedes AMG team, British driver Jamie Green will be campaigning with the Four Ring badge in 2013. A competitor in DTM since 2005, the McLaren Autosport Award winning driver has eight career victories in touring car series. Last year, consistency allowed Jamie Green to claim third-place in the overall driver’s points behind teammate Gary Paffett and 2012 series champion Bruno Spengler.
Set to unleash a fleet of eight Audi RS 5 DTM cars at the May 5th series opening race at the Hockenheimring, Jamie Green joins an otherwise unchanged driver line-up. Green will be teammate to two-time DTM champion Mattias Ekström at Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline. Timo Scheider, Adrien Tambay, Miguel Molina, Mike Rockenfeller, Filipe Albuquerque and Edoardo Mortara are all set to return to Audi racecars now wearing the RS 5 nameplate.
Information and photo source: Audi AG
During the first three races of the 2012 DTM series, Audi has been outpaced by the competition of Mercedes-Benz AMG and BMW. Replacing the successful A4 (a car that carried Audi drivers to 7 of the 10 points-scoring DTM races in 2011), the A5 coupe-based race car did enter the 2012 season with some big tire tracks to fill. For the one and only visit to the country of Austria, Audi entered determined to mount a concentrated effort to mount a podium-topping DTM effort at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg. To the delight of Audi boosters, the Austrian spectacle was the event where the A5 DTM race car would reign supreme.
The successful weekend for Audi started on Saturday when the A5 claimed its second series pole of DTM. For the first time since the debut race at the Hockenheimring where Mattias Ekström’s Red Bull-sponsored A5 scored a qualifying victory, the Audi Sport Team Rosberg car of Edoardo Mortara garnered the top spot at the 10-turn, 2.688-mile Red Bull Ring. “It’s simply incredible: my first pole position in the DTM! What can I say? Thank you to my guys from Team Rosberg, thank you to Audi Sport!” said the 25-year old driver Mortara after collecting the pole position.
On race day, the Playboy-sponsored Audi A5 DTM car of Edoardo Mortara only needed to preserve his position from the start in order to set up an ideal course over 47 laps. Placed on his first pole, the launch to begin Sunday’s main event was a challenge for second-year Italian driver Mortara. Contending with DTM points leader Gary Paffett and his Mercedes-AMG C-Coupe at the start, the Team Rosberg Audi A5 had an eventful entrance into the first corner but successfully fought off Paffett.
Fending off Gary Paffett early, the latter part of the DTM race at the Red Bull Ring, Edoardo Mortara and Audi’s plans for victory were put in danger by a former pilot of the four-ring badge products. Winning the 2011 championship with the Audi A4, Martin Tomczyk had jumped ship to the new BMW effort for 2012. Tomczyk’s BMW M3 hounded the rear of the Montara’s Audi A5 looking to exploit any mishap of the Team Rosberg race machine. Undaunted, Edoardo Montara flew to the checkered flag first holding off Tomczyk by a 1.068-second gap.
For what was a series of firsts, Edoardo Mortara celebrated at the top of the podium for what is a first official DTM win (Mortara won a round in the Munich Olympic Stadium last year but the race was not classified as part of the points-paying 2011 DTM tour). “After a few difficult weekends I wouldn’t have necessarily expected to win. You always try and give your best and today we achieved the maximum.” said Mortara. The first win for the Audi A5 is also the first DTM series victory for Team Rosberg since joining Audi in 2006.
Mattias Ekström brought the Audi A5 sponsored by the owner of the Austria track to a 4th place finish. Ekström commented in post-race about his 4th top-5 in the opening 4 DTM events saying, “I had a very good start in the race but then unfortunately lost a few places on lap one. In the end, I finished in fourth place. It’s definitely a bit disappointing that I didn’t finish on podium and manage to score big points.“
Finishing sixth, Timo Scheider with the ABT Sportsline Audi A5 was actually having a better race until taking a trip through the gravel trap. Finishing more than 35 seconds behind the leader, Scheider’s race was still a strong outing that included posting the fastest lap time around the Red Bull Ring during the 47-lap event.
Phoenix Racing’s Mike Rockenfeller (two weeks away from joining the Audi Sport Team Joest squad at the Le Mans 24 hour race) finished 7th and Filipe Albuquerque in the second Team Rosberg Audi A5 finished 8th.
Audi’s first win comes ahead of a nearly one month lay-off for the 2012 DTM series. The next race will take place at the Norisring where Audi hasn’t since 2002.
Information source: Audi AG, DTM
Photo source: Audi AG
The Audi A5’s DTM career started optimistically in the first 2012 race of the popular German Touring Car tour. With Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline driver Mattias Ekström leading the way with a pole in qualifying and a podium result in the Hockenheimring main event, the A5 coupe performed admirably in its series debut. For race number two of the 2012 schedule, the whole 8-driver racing squad of Audi A5 race cars arrived at the Lausitzring seeking their first win with their new DTM vehicle.
With five Audi A5 braking into the top-10 during the weekend’s qualifying at the 3.478-kilometer road course on Saturday, Mike Rockenfeller’s Schaeffler-sponsored Audi Sport Team Phoenix entry was the fastest with a fourth-quickest time in the final time trial session. The BMW M3 race cars’ speed in qualifying demonstrated themselves to be a formidable force at the Lausitzring against the Audi A5 DTM team.
On what was a very cold race day at the German track, the 52-lap event was not exactly the outing Audi had been looking for in the second DTM race of 2012. The fourth place-starting Audi A5 of Mike Rockenfeller suffered setbacks from the beginning. Receiving contact in the rear, Rockenfeller misjudged the turn 1 corner during the opening lap causing his A5 to jump the curbing. “Something on the car probably got damaged in the process. We lost a few places. Afterward, there was no pace in the car anymore.” said Mike Rockenfeller. The driver of the Schaeffler Audi A5 would also experience a slow pit stop later in the race resulting in what would be a 13th place finish.
While Bruno Spengler prevailed at the Lausitzring for what would be BMW’s first DTM series victory in more than 19 years, the day for the Audi A5 teams was overall a strong effort that resulted in four cars in the top-10. Following up his third place at the Hockenheimring, Swedish driver Mattias Ekström again carried the flag for the Audi team at the second DTM event. A 5th place run for the #3 Red Bull Audi A5 is a consistent job Ekström who said after the race, “Naturally, it’s a nice thing to be the best Audi driver. Fifth place isn’t perfect but we scored important points for the championship. We’ve got to continue to work hard in order to have a better pace at the next race weekend.” Mattias Ekström’s Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline would also bring the second team car home in 6th place. Charging from 12th place on the grid to narrowly miss the top-5, Timo Scheider’s performance at the Lausitzring was much appreciated after misfortune in the opening event a week ago. “Performance was good afterwards, I moved forward with a few overtaking maneuvers and a good strategy. In the end, I caught Mattias (Ekström) and that meant I couldn’t advance any more. We had a nice fight.” said Scheider.
In 8th and 9th place, Team Rosberg performed another impressive team effort with Audi DTM cars. Italian Edoardo Mortara lead teammate Filipe Albuquerque across the line for the Team Rosberg organization. Behind Mike Rockenfeller’s 13th place finish, the remaining Audi drivers included Miguel Molina in 15th, Adrien Tambay in 18th and Rahel Frey who recorded 20th at the line.
With the Brands Hatch scheduled on May 20th, Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich looks back on the Lausitzring event saying, “It was a very tough race. Unfortunately, we didn’t find the overall performance we’d been hoping for. In the case of Timo (Scheider) and Mattias (Ekström) we tried something between warm-up and the race – I think that was a step in the right direction. But we’ve got to use the two weeks between now and the next race at Brands Hatch to be in contention for victory there again.”
Lausitzring DTM Race Results
1 Bruno Spengler Canada BMW Team Schnitzer BMW M3
2 Gary Paffett England THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé
3 Augusto Farfus Brazil BMW Team RBM BMW M3
Audi Team Results
5 Mattias Ekström Sweden Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline Audi A5
6 Timo Scheider Germany Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline Audi A5
8 Edoardo Mortara Italy Audi Sport Team Rosberg Audi A5
9 Filipe Albuquerque Portugal Audi Sport Team Rosberg Audi A5
13 Mike Rockenfeller Germany Audi Sport Team Phoenix Audi A5
15 Miguel Molina Spain Audi Sport Team Phoenix Audi A5
18 Adrien Tambay France Audi Sport Team Abt Audi A5
20 Rahel Frey Switzerland Audi Sport Team Abt Audi A5
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