On March 2 of this month, Audi Sport has removed the wrappings of its new DTM contender, the Audi A5 DTM. The 2012 DTM season starts in 8 weeks and as of march 1, 2012 the homologation process has begun and development has been frozen. This is the car Audi teams will compete in this season.
Mercedes Benz and BMW have been testing their new entries for the season and so has Audi Sport. They have been testing the final version of the new A5 DTM in top-secret conditions excluding the general public over the past few weeks. “More than ever before, even the minutest detail will count this year in the DTM,” says Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “Obviously, you want to keep the things you’ve worked out over the past few months under wraps for as long as possible.” The new DTM regulations prescribe more shared parts than in the past and impose further restrictions on aerodynamics as well.
When comparing the first A5 DTM as it was unveiled to the public at the Frankfurt International Motor Show (IAA) in September 2011 with the vehicle that has just been homologated the changes that have been made are obvious at first glance. The single-frame radiator grille and the air intakes on the sides of the front spoiler in combination with the characteristic LED daytime running lights of the production A5 give the A5 DTM an extremely dynamic look. The three-dimensional aerodynamics components in the lower third of the vehicle flanks are small works of technological art. And the rear section as well exhibits innovative ideas.
Audi factory driver Filipe Albuquerque was the first to have the chance of getting an idea of the overall package. At the end of February, the Portuguese had the honor of completing the first test kilometers at the wheel of the A5 DTM with chassis number 003 that both in terms of weight and aerodynamics reflected the (near-) final version. “I expected quite a bit of it,” said the winner of the 2010 Race of Champions at which he defeated Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel among others. “But I wouldn’t have thought that the step would be so big. Particularly in fast turns the new A5 DTM handles like a formula car. Truly fascinating! I think I’d have to readjust quite a bit if I switched back to the old A4 DTM …”
The homologation on March 1 also gave the starting signal to the three Audi factory teams that are now beginning to prepare the race cars at Audi Sport in Ingolstadt. Four of the new A5 DTM vehicles can be seen at the official track tests in Valencia (Spain) from March 20 to 22 – then sporting the design of the various sponsoring partners as well.