Image credits: © Audi.
2012 Audi A5 DTM
The new Audi A5 DTM
One date in particular influenced the work of the engineers and technicians at Audi Sport in a major way over the past few months: the homologation of the new Audi A5 DTM on March 1.
Exactly 59 days before the racing debut at the Hockenheimring on April 29 the rule now is 'rien ne va plus.' As of the electronic transmission of all relevant design drawings, CAD data, descriptions and photographs to Deutscher Motor Sport Bund (DMSB) for approval ('homologation') the key technical areas of the new DTM vehicles – including aerodynamics – have been frozen. This means that the concept Audi is using to start the 'title defense' project in the 2012 DTM has been finalized.
Like its two competitors, Audi had 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 Úllrich. '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. The Audi engineers are convinced nonetheless that they have come up with interesting and innovative detailed solutions again in this area in which Audi has consistently been a trendsetter over the past few years. And these solutions were covered by so-called 'bubble wrap' (camouflage) of the type their colleagues in production pre-development use to disguise their secret prototypes.
This hide-and-seek game is over now. When comparing the first A5 DTM as it was unveiled to the world's 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.
Yet the work of the technical staff has by no means come to a halt. The remaining days before the Hockenheim season opener will primarily be dedicated to fine-tuning work and efforts to maximize the potential of A5 DTM in combination with the new Hankook tires.Source - Audi
Audi drivers are fit for the new A5 DTM
• DTM makes maximum demands on drivers' physical fitness
• Ekström & company have prepared themselves in Allgau winter camp
• New DTM season opens at Hockenheim seven weeks from now Ingolstadt, March 10, 2012
– Power like a decathlonist, stamina like a marathon runner – these are the ideal prerequisites for holding one's own in the DTM. The Audi factory drivers worked hard on themselves in winter – and are now ready to tackle the challenges of the new season.
When Dr. Christian John reflects on the old days in his motorsport life he shakes his head laughing. His reminiscing immediately brings back memories of some racers who on seeing the season's last checkered flag being lowered would stop any effort to keep up their physical fitness, then facing him in the following spring with the resulting limpness. 'This sort of thing doesn't happen anymore today,' says John, who as team physician has been a member of the Audi family since 1983. 'Our girl and the guys I get to see at our camp in Ofterschwang for the first time in the season, are accomplished professionals who have physically trained to the max.'
The meeting in the Allgau at the beginning of the year has been a regular event on the calendars of the Audi racers, team directors and Head of Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Úllrich for many years. And it is an event which has evolved from a pure fitness camp into a week that is primarily dedicated to building team spirit, for instance during joint training units. This is completely to Christian John's liking. Views that motorsport is more or less a question of material on four wheels merely make a mild smile appear on his face. 'Racers have exactly two factors that put them on the podium: the technology and their physical and mental fitness – that's it.' Accordingly, the optimum condition of the drivers has been a high priority at Audi for years.
There are good reasons for this. 'Ideally, a DTM driver has the power of a decathlonist and the stamina of a marathon runner,' says Christian John as he outlines the physical demands made on the racers entrusted to his care. The heat inside the cockpit of the closed vehicle, the lateral acceleration rates which are high in a touring car as well, plus the operation of the instruments and overview of the race track – the combination of these factors truly makes DTM racing a high-performance sport.
Fitness and nutrition are on the agenda throughout the joint camp of the DTM and sports car racers just like fostering and strengthening team spirit – which has traditionally been one of the major fortes under Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Úllrich. 'This is where we gain an overview, provide suggestions for daily training and expose weak areas,' says John, although the latter has simply ceased to exist with the current generation: 'Everyone is at the same level, and incredibly fit and trained to the max.'
So, all that is left is to provide suggestions for optimum training. Sports like running, cross-country skiing and cycling are ideal. 'Of these I always recommend the latter two because you can do them at a good level for several hours straight.' In addition, there are special power training workout units for the whole body even though the highest strain is on the shoulders, arms and neck muscles.
Once the racing season has started, in addition to training, the focus is increasingly put on nutrition, which has to be high in carbohydrates and low in harmful components. Therefore, the diet before the race and qualifying is pasta, potatoes or rice, and cereal or whole grain bread in the morning.Source - Audi
Audi gives young talent opportunity in DTM
• Eighth Audi A5 DTM for youngster Adrien Tambay
• Team-mate of Rahel Frey in Audi Sport Team Abt
• Race against the clock in vehicle preparation Ingolstadt, March 14, 2012
– Six weeks before the new DTM season opens at the Hockenheimring on April 29 the decision has been made: Audi will be fielding a total of eight vehicles in the competition with BMW and Mercedes-Benz. By signing the 21-year-old Frenchman Adrien Tambay Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Úllrich is yet again giving an opportunity to a promising young driver.
Two-time champion Mattias Ekström, Filipe Albuquerque, Miguel Molina, Edoardo Mortara, Mike Rockenfeller – as many as five examples give proof of AÚDI AG's successful promotion of young talent in the DTM. Now following in these footsteps is Adrien Tambay, the son of the former Formula 1 racer Patrick Tambay. As Rahel Frey's team-mate in Audi Sport Team Abt, he will be driving one of the total of eight new Audi A5 DTM cars.
'We were poised for fielding eight vehicles in the DTM as early as last year and are assuming that no later than in 2013 all manufacturers will be competing with at least eight cars,' says Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Úllrich. 'As we had to develop an extremely challenging hybrid car – the Audi R18 e-tron quattro – for the Le Mans 24 Hours and concurrently a completely new DTM vehicle we were initially planning for seven cars in 2012. I'm happy that the opportunity to enter eight cars has now materialized. I'm convinced that in view of the DTM's high level it'll be advantageous to compete with the maximum number of possible cars. The competition will be very close – an additional vehicle also means an additional chance. Plus, an even number makes more sense than an uneven number in terms of logistics and team effort.'
By signing Adrien Tambay Audi is purposefully following its strategy of discovering talents and retaining them for the brand early on. 'We took several young drivers on board in recent years, some of whom joined us from Volkswagen's talent incubator in Formula 3,' says Dr. Úllrich. 'I feel that today Audi has a very good base in terms of its driver line-up, which also means that the brand is oriented toward the future. This also applies to Adrien (Tambay), who convinced us in tests and is a good fit for the Audi family.'
The 21-year-old Frenchman, who was active in formula racing since 2007 and took fourth place in the international 'Auto-GP' series, prevailed in a multi-step evaluation of young drivers. The ultimate decision in favor of Tambay was made after a final test on Monday. The DTM rookie will start testing in the Audi A5 DTM for his new race team as early as during the official DTM track tests in Valencia (Spain) next week.
Whether Tambay will already be on the grid at the Hockenheimring season opener is not certain at the moment. 'We're currently working at full stretch on duplicating a sufficient number of cars of the A5 DTM model that was homologated on March 1 and to ensure appropriate spare parts supply,' explains Dr. Wolfgang Úllrich. 'This is a major logistical feat and puts maximum demands on the entire squad. Our aim is to field the eighth car as early as possible.'Source - Audi
DTM stars love the Audi A5
• Four more weeks to go before new Audi A5 DTM makes race debut
• Sporty-elegant A5 coupé provides perfect base for DTM
• ISOFIX system is most important extra for Mattias Ekström Ingolstadt, March 29, 2012
– When at 2 p.m. on April 29 the first race of the 2012 DTM starts at the Hockenheimring (live on 'Das Erste') it will not only mark the beginning of a new era for the world's most popular international touring car series. For the first time ever, Audi is banking on a factory-fielded coupe in the DTM. The sporty-elegant A5 serves as the base for the race car.
In 1990, Audi made its debut in the DTM. The large, four-door sedan was not an optimum base for use in racing though. Thanks to a V8 engine and superior quattro drive Audi won two consecutive titles nonetheless – as the first ever automobile manufacturer to do so in DTM history. And on its return to the touring car series with the more compact A4 Audi again shaped DTM history, from 2004 onward. In 2007, 2008 and 2009, the brand with the four rings was the first – and has so far been the only – manufacturer to achieve the title hat-trick in the DTM.
A total of five championship titles make the A4 DTM one of the most successful race cars ever built by Audi. Yet its successor, the new A5 DTM, lets any sentimental thoughts pass quickly. 'For me, the A5 is the most beautiful of the three new DTM vehicles,' says Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Úllrich. 'And in terms of providing the base for it the A5 is a very good car for the DTM.'
The enthusiasm for the coupe is shared by Michael Dick, who in his role as Member of the Board of Management for Technical Development is responsible for AÚDI AG's DTM commitment as well. 'I particularly like the fact that the contours of the production A5 can still be clearly recognized,' praises the technologist who has personally done some trial laps in the new DTM vehicle. 'I was positively surprised by the great sense of space in the A5 DTM. I immediately felt comfortable – even more so than in the A4 DTM, which I had the chance to drive in the past as well.'
'This shows that we did a good job with the coupe,' says Dr. Úllrich, pleased with the praise from his boss. 'Actually, you'd expect the sense of space to be better in a sedan. (concept carz)'
The unique feeling of space is also one of the strengths of the production A5 that immediately won the hearts and minds of Audi customers after its market launch in 2007. The A5 DTM is based on the current version, which since the most recent product upgrade in summer 2011 can be recognized by its distinctive, wedge-shaped headlights.
The new A5 DTM is thus spearheading the A5 family – although it is currently reserved exclusively to the company's racers. Yet the production models, as well, fulfill nearly any wish. Whether as an A5, S5 or RS 5 – coupe, sportback or cabriolet – a total of seven models are available to choose from. The modern engine range spans from the particularly economical 2.0 TDI with 105 kW (143 HP) to the high-performance V8 with 331 kW (450 HP) used in the exceptionally sporty RS 5 coupe.
The DTM stars competing for Audi in the 2012 season are A5 fans too. The two-time DTM Champion Timo Scheider was one of the first to place an order for the upgraded RS 5 – in white. The MMI navigation system is the most important accessory for the German who lives in Austria. 'This makes traveling a totally relaxing experience,' he says.
DTM rookie Adrien Tambay has ordered an RS 5 as well – in Daytona gray and fitted with 20-inch wheels. 'My absolute dream car,' raves the Frenchman.
Mattias Ekström is another driver who could very well picture the new RS 5, which he just had the chance to test, in his private garage. 'But I'd definitely need an ISOFIX system for the front passenger's seat,' says the two-time DTM Champion with a grin. 'My son Mats always wants to sit in the front seat next to Daddy.'
Edo Mortara already drove an RS 5 in his 2011 rookie season whereas his driver colleagues Filipe Albuquerque and Miguel Molina prefer Audi TDI Power. Molina's current A5 is equipped with a 2.0 TDI engine and Albuquerque has just ordered a black A5 3.0 TDI with matte-gray 19-inch wheels. 'That simply perfects the A5's fantastic design,' the Portuguese enthuses about his car.
For their new company cars on the race track, there are no extras though – as Audi Sport has installed them all as standard equipment. 'The A5 DTM not only looks good but our guys have turned the A5 into a really good race car too,' Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Úllrich is convinced. 'My hopes for the A5 DTM are to have a good race car in my hands that is in contention for victory right from the first race on and that will perfectly blend with the successful and elegant A5 family.'
The first hour of truth for Audi Sport's youngest baby will come in qualifying for the DTM season opener at Hockenheim on April 28 and a day later at the new DTM's eagerly awaited first race. Plus, a particularly large number of A5 models are likely to be found in the parking lots around the Hockenheimring this time.Source - Audi
The Audi A5 DTM: a high-tech jigsaw puzzle consisting of over 4,000 parts
• Three more weeks to go before the new DTM season starts
• Assembly of race cars nearly completed
• Around two weeks of build time for each DTM vehicle Ingolstadt, April 5, 2012
– Suspense is building – among the fans and at the team of Audi Sport. In just three weeks from now the 2012 DTM will start at the Hockenheimring, which marks the beginning of a new era for the popular racing series.
V8, TT, A4 – each of the three model ranges with which Audi has previously competed in the DTM ultimately won at least one title. After eight successful years with the A4, the brand with the four rings is banking on a two-door coupe for its factory commitment in the most popular international touring car racing series for the first time: the A5.
The three long-standing Audi Sport teams, Abt Sportsline, Phoenix and Rosberg, are fielding a total of eight new Audi A5 DTM cars – which means that Audi Sport will be setting an internal record even before the first race, as such a large number of new vehicles has never before been built for a new DTM season. In 2004, on Audi's return to the DTM with a factory commitment, there were six vehicles. Afterwards, a maximum of four new race cars were built per year.
In 2012, there will only be new cars in the field – for the first time ever since the DTM's re-launch in 2000. 'Developing a new race car for a new set of Technical Regulations and then duplicating it eight times and assuring the supply of spare parts in the process is a very difficult logistical challenge. This feat could only be achieved by a major effort of the whole Audi squad,' explains Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Úllrich. 'I'm convinced though that this will pay off, as we've got the chance to turn the DTM into the world's best touring car series this year.'
All three factory teams were involved in the development and track tests of the new Audi A5 DTM right from the beginning and will thus start into the new DTM era with equal opportunities. From the first track tests at the Lausitzring on September 12, 2011 through to the homologation of the A5 DTM on March 1, 2012, they formed a test team together with Audi Sport that reeled off around 30,000 test kilometers.
Assembly of the race cars at Audi Sport in Ingolstadt
Assembly of the race cars was begun afterwards at Audi Sport in Ingolstadt – performed by the mechanics of the teams. 'This way, they're able to familiarize themselves with even the minutest details of the new cars and are acquiring a certain routine even before the first race,' says Dr. Martin Mühlmeier, Head of Engineering at Audi Sport. An Audi A5 DTM consists of around 4,000 single parts. It takes five people to assemble one vehicle in a little less than two weeks. In the background, the specialists from Audi Sport take care of the required quality assurance, logistics and pre-assembly of various component units.
Úp to four DTM vehicles can be simultaneously assembled at Audi Sport, in other words one each per two-car team. The assembly process starts with the installation of the monocoque, one of currently 59 components which are identical for all DTM vehicles of the three manufacturers. Then the front end with the engine, the front crash structure and the rear end including the clutch, transmission and the rear crash structure are 'married' with the chassis. 'This requires extreme care,' stresses Stefan Aicher, Head of Vehicle Design at Audi Sport. The smallest inaccuracy that occurs while putting together the pieces of this high-tech jigsaw puzzle can jeopardize the 'title defense' project.
The finished assembly of the total of eight race cars does not mean that the preparations for the season have been completed though. The spare parts have to be produced and, to some extent, pre-assembled into component units as well. 'The logistical effort that is behind the DTM's re-launch is huge,' says Stephan Köster, Project Manager DTM. When all the cars are on the grid at Hockenheim at 2 p.m. on April 29 (live on 'Das Erste') Audi Sport will already have won the first race – the one before the first race.Source - Audi
Audi A5 DTM finishes debut on podium
• Mattias Ekström in third place at Hockenheimring
• 142,000 spectators witnessed fast and furious start of new DTM era
• Total of four Audi A5 DTM cars in the points Ingolstadt/Hockenheim, April 29, 2012
– In front of an impressive crowd of 142,000 spectators (throughout the weekend) the DTM made a fast and furious start into its new era with a turbulent race at the Hockenheimring. The new Audi A5 DTM started from the pole position and finished in third place after 40 laps.
This marked a repetition of DTM history. In 1990, Hans-Joachim Stuck clinched third place in Audi's first DTM race in the V8 quattro at Zolder – at the end of the year he became champion. In 2004, Mattias Ekström took third place on the Audi A4 DTM's first run at Hockenheim as well. The Swede, too, captured the title in the end.
Mattias Ekström started from the pole position in his Red Bull Audi A5 DTM at the Hockenheimring and immediately took the lead, which he kept until lap five before making a braking mistake in turn two, dropping behind Jamie Green and shortly afterward behind Gary Paffett too. From then on the Swede from Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline concentrated on safeguarding third place which, as in Formula 1, is rewarded with 15 points this year.
'When you start from the pole position third place is certainly not your dream result,' said Mattias Ekström. 'But our rival was simply better today; we've got to accept that. But not to worry: we'll come back! It was very warm today and we didn't have the optimum set-up for these conditions.'
Mike Rockenfeller in the Schaeffler Audi A5 DTM of Audi Sport Team Phoenix took fifth place after having to let Mercedes driver Christian Vietoris pass shortly before the end of the race. His team-mate Miguel Molina in the Red Bull Audi A5, who had started from position 17 on the grid, scored points in ninth place as well. The top ten at the DTM opening round were completed by Filipe Albuquerque in the TV Movie Audi A5 DTM of Audi Sport Team Rosberg, who thus grabbed the last point.
Albuquerque's team-mate Edoardo Mortara in his Playboy Audi A5 DTM was running in the top group in the first half of the race but after a collision with the BMW of Joey Hand had to serve a drive-through penalty that caused him to drop from fourth to twelfth place. He ultimately finished in eleventh place.
Rahel Frey in her E-POSTBRIEF Audi A5 DTM was fighting a duel with her rival Susie Wolff almost during the whole race. She lost a possible 13th place shortly before the end of the race after spinning. The Swiss finished the race in 16th place.
Timo Scheider (AÚTO TEST Audi A5 DTM) and Adrien Tambay (Audi ultra A5 DTM) were forced to retire. Scheider was hit by Ralf Schumacher right on lap one and later by Roberto Merhi. The suspension of his A5 DTM was damaged in the process. After a few strong initial laps, Adrien Tambay was running in the top ten on his DTM debut before the Frenchman became entangled in a collision through no fault of his own and was forced to park his car with a defective radiator.
'After yesterday's pole position third place was certainly not what we'd been expecting from the race,' commented Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Úllrich. 'We've got to analyze why we didn't have the performance we thought we'd have in the race. By finishing third Mattias Ekström made the best of the situation and scored important points. We're going to learn from this race for the Lausitzring. On the whole, it was a tremendous opening round for the DTM in front of a fantastic crowd with a turbulent early phase. And it was obvious that overtaking is definitely possible in the new DTM.'
The Audi squad will not have time to take a deep breath after the season opener as the next DTM race is on the calendar for next weekend. That is why the teams are traveling directly from Hockenheim to the Lausitzring.Source - Audi