The preparations for Audi’s comeback in the DTM (German Touring Car Masters) continue in full swing and exactly according to plan. Audi works driver Frank Biela completed a successful roll-out with the new Audi A4 DTM just before Christmas. The next phase of the DTM project begins for the Audi Sport team after three months of intensive development work: Following the successful maiden outing, the Audi touring car with approximately 460 PS will now be prepared for its race debut on 18 April at Hockenheim by an extensive test programme at various European race tracks.
“It was our goal to have the new A4 DTM up and running before the New Year, to be able to test extensively before the start of the season”, explains Head of Audi Sport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich. “That our team managed to keep the extremely tight schedule for roll-out, speaks volumes for Audi Sport and our partners. This gives us an advantage as far as time is concerned when compared to our competitors.”
The Audi A4 DTM is the first car that conforms to the new DTM technical regulations, which now stipulates the use of four-door saloons and has also changed in many other details. “The A4 DTM is therefore a completely new development, only the uprights and the prescribed DTM standard components originate from the Abt-Audi TT-R”, explains Wolfgang Appel, Director of Vehicle Engineering at Audi Sport. “The DTM regulations are very restrictive. Nevertheless, we were able to incorporate several things that made the Audi R8 so successful in the sport prototypes over the last few years.”
The Audi A4 DTM V8-engine is a development of the power unit already used in the TT-R. “The DTM engine regulations also only allow a small amount of latitude, that’s why we paid a lot of attention to detail”, says Ulrich Baretzky, Director of Engine Engineering at Audi Sport. Immediately recognisable to the untrained eye are the V8 power unit’s exhaust pipes that end on car’s flanks and were moved as close as possible to the centre of the car. The driver’s seating position located extremely towards the rear is also very striking.
“The seating position is excellent, as is the field of vision”, noted Frank Biela after the roll-out. Although he completed the first laps in dark, foggy and ice cold conditions, the former German Touring Car champion and three-time Le Mans winner was all warm inside: “It was a very Christmassy feeling. The A4 looks absolutely fantastic and felt good from the word go. I didn’t expect anything different: I’ve been lucky enough, during the 13 years in which I have driven now for Audi, to complete a fair amount of roll-outs. It was business as usual: You sit in and everything works as it should, which is not always the case in motorsport and shows just how professionally Audi works. Now I can hardly wait for the first proper test.”