This is Audi’s new DTM racer: as new rules and regulations are ushered in for the 2012 German Touring Car series, Audi has chosen to replace its highly successful A4 DTM with a race car based on the new A5 coupe. And it’s been unveiled just in time to steal a little thunder from BMW as Ingolstadt’s local rival reveals its first DTM challenger in two decades.
So the Audi A4 DTM becomes the Audi A5 DTM?
That’s the story, and the proven 460bhp 4.0-litre V8 and six-speed gearbox will be carried over from the A4 DTM, while 2012 rules bring in bigger rear wings but limit the number of other aerodynamic appendages. As for the looks, Audi claims these official sketches ‘merely suggest the looks’ of its new A5 racer, especailly as the new tin-top will adopt the latest styling revisions of the A5 coupe, rather than the pre-facelift looks of the featured car.
However, it’s under the skin that the biggest changes have been made. The new rules have been designed to cut costs (the main reason that BMW has re-joined the series) but also to make the cars even safer. Which means a carbonfibre monocoque (with an integrated fuel tank) and steel roll cage, together with sidewalls made of a carbon, Zylon and Rohacell hybrid, as the new DTM racers now have to be able to withstand a static load that is four times higher than before. And rather than just the front and rear crash elements of each DTM car being individually crash-tested, the whole vehicle is now fired against a wall to make sure the entire structure is up to scratch.
The first A5 DTM prototype, dubbed R17 (this year’s Le Mans-winning prototype is R18), is currently being put together at Audi Sport in Ingolstadt, and will be unveiled at the 2011 Frankfurt motor show in September.
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