We still have just over 2 months until the DTM 2012 season kicks off at the Hockenheimring but we’ve already been treated to a lot from Audi and Mercedes-AMG as well as new (old) comer BMW. All three will have new cars as well. With Audi, we will see the A5 takeover after seven years of competition in the A4. The A5 DTM will also have to live up to four DTM titles out of those seven. Powered by the V8 engine, the output will be around 460 horsepower.
In a little more than ten weeks from now the new DTM season will start, marking a completely new era for the DTM. Are you excited about that?
I’m definitely very excited because we’ve been waiting for this for a long time in the DTM. A new manufacturer is joining the series and the regulations are new. At Audi, we’ve been doing a lot of development work over the winter. That’s why I’m very eager to finally go to Hockenheim and to see how good our work has been compared with BMW and Mercedes. Tests never really give you the right answer to this; that only happens at the first qualifying session and the first race.
The new DTM vehicles will be homologated on March 1. What does that mean for the next two weeks?
Obviously, our technical staff would be much better qualified to answer this question. But principally speaking there’s only fine-tuning work left at this stage. The key decisions were made a long time ago. Every manufacturer will now try and guard their little secrets up to the last moment. After March 1 the cards will be revealed a little more – also during the track tests.
You’ve already covered many kilometers at the wheel of the new Audi A5 DTM. What’s your impression? Where does Audi stand compared with the competition? What can the fans expect of the 2012 DTM season and, most importantly, of Audi?
The car is definitely a bit different to drive than the A4. The biggest difference is made by the new Hankook tire which is a bit wider – that changes the driving style to some extent. And we’ve got the gearshift on the steering wheel now. That, too, makes a bit of a difference. There are many things you can’t fully judge at this point in time because we haven’t driven the latest racing version yet. But I’m pretty sure that the new cars will be about as fast as the A4. We’ve got a little more downforce but also slightly higher weight. I think these two aspects balance each other. Nobody can tell at the moment where we stand compared with the competition. We really have to wait until the first race at Hockenheim. In any event, the fans can expect things to get really tight. The new regulations have reduced the freedom of the engineers quite a bit. That’s why the whole field will be very close. Saturday will be the most important day for a successful weekend. You’ve simply got to be very far at the front of the grid. The fans can expect Audi to run at full throttle to repeat the champion’s titles of the past few years. But BMW and Mercedes-Benz will be driving flat out as well. The three premium manufacturers in the same championship with the same aims: That’ll be a tough number! If I were a fan I definitely wouldn’t miss that.
Technical Specifications: Audi A5 DTM (2012)
Vehicle type: DTM touring car
Chassis: CFRP monocoque with integrated fuel tank,
CFRP: crash elements on the sides, front and rear
Engine: V8 normally aspirated engine, 90-degree cylinder angle, 4 valves per cylinder, air intake restricted to 2 x 28.0 mm by regulations
Engine control unit: Bosch MS 5.1
Engine lubrication: Dry sump
Displacement: 4,000 cc
Power output: Approx. 340 kW (460 HP)
Torque: Over 500 Nm
Drive system: Rear-wheel drive
Clutch: 4-plate CFRP clutch
Transmission: Sequential 6-speed sport transmission
Differential: Adjustable multi-plate limited slip differential
Drive shaftsvConstant-velocity (CV) shafts
Steering: Power-assisted rack and pinion steering
Suspension: Independent front and rear, twin A-arm suspension, push rod system with spring/damper unit, adjustable gas pressure dampers
Brakes: Hydraulic dual-circuit braking system, monoblock light metal brake calipers, ventilated carbon fiber brake discs, front and rear, brake force distribution between front and rear continually adjustable by the driver, electromagnetic starting valve
Rims: Forged aluminum rims, front: 12 x 18 inches; rear: 13 x 18 inches
Tires: Hankook, front: 300-680-18; rear: 320-710-18
Length: 5,010 mm (incl. rear wing)
Width: 1,950 mm
Height: 1,150 mm
Minimum weight: TBD
Fuel tank capacity: 120 liters