Audi A5 DTM (2012) at Frankfurt motor showMon, 12 Sep 2011
This is the new Audi A5 DTM. Simply, it’s Audi’s entry into 2012’s Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters, the German touring car series where the rules demand 4.0-litre V8s and rear-wheel drive chassis.So the Audi A5 DTM racer isn’t your average A5?
It isn’t, and it’s also somewhat removed from the A4 DTM that’s been competing in the series for the last few years. New rules come into force in 2012, which have forced the switch from the A4 to the A5. The rules aim to cut costs by up to 40% (a move which has seen BMW rejoin the series after a two decade absence) and improve the safety of the DTM racers. A new carbonfibre monocoque is standard, with an intergrated 120-litre fuel tank, and there’s steel roll cage, all of which are there to meet the new safety regulations.
But the carbon chassis is also shared with Mercedes and Audi, as are more than 50 other parts, in a bid to keep costs down – and make the racing as competitive as possible. ‘Due to these shared components it was possible to achieve the cost reduction target of up to 40 percent without compromising on the safety and attractiveness of the DTM vehicles,' explained Audi's head of motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich.
The wheelbase off all the DTM cars is the same as well, other common parts include the engine subframe, and the six-speed paddleshift transmission (which is designed to last 24,000km), only certain materials are allowed, and certain components have minimum weight requirements too.What else?
The lairy bodykit pushes the A5 Coupe’s dimensions out from 4626mm long and 1854mm wide to 5.01m long and 1.95m wide, while at 1.15m tall it's over 200mm lower than the road car. The A5 DTM is wider than this year's A4 to accomodate the larger and wider Hankook tyres, which increases the grip levels at the same times as the more restrictive aero rules decrease them; complex aero flics and add-ons are banned, and there's just one big, single piece rear wing.
The R17 project (as the A5 DTM is known internally; the Le Mans-winning LMP1 racer is R18) has been in the works since May 2010. A decision to use the revised A5 Coupe was made in June 2010, wind tunnel trials have been running since February 2011, the roll-out of the first protoype was on 29 July 2010, and the homologation deadline is 1 March 2012.
Audi also unveiled the revised RS5 coupe alongside the A5 DTM. The RS5 remains mechanically identical to the current car, with a 444bhp 4.2-litre V8 driving all four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch S-tronic transmission, but it's been visually updated to bring it in line with the rest of the A5 range.
By Ben Pulman