No doubt the Grand Am's announcement of a full season DTM series as part of its Rolex series sportscar weekends (and maybe even a NASCAR weekend here or there) is of high interest to Audi enthusiasts. Audi has been a staple in the German touring series for years so fans might guess they could expect to see Audis as an integral part to that series. Of course, Audi Sport boss Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich rarely if ever projects further out than the next immediate season but commenting on the series announcement isn't exactly confirming Audi involvement so we dropped an inquiry to the offices of Audi Sport in Germany to see if he'd comment. Here is the reply.
So What's Our Take“It is good news that there will be a series for DTM cars in North America from 2013 onwards. Audi has supported the idea of this series because the U.S. is an important market for our brand. Audi has quite a history in U.S. motorsports by winning the famous Pikes Peak hill climb, the Trans Am Series, many races in IMSA-GTO, the SPEED GT Challenge and of course the American Le Mans Series. We would love to see our DTM cars racing in the U.S. in 2013 but it is far too early to say in which way this could happen. There might be privateer teams buying our cars or a factory-supported program – even if we would return to the American Le Mans Series because these are two completely different programs: We promote technology and our brand with our sports prototype program while we support the product – right now the A4 – with the DTM.” - Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich
We didn't expect Dr. Ullrich to confirm involvement so we weren't terribly surprised that he stopped short of doing so in his statement. Still, his take is most positive and, given the DTM tradition of fielding older cars by privateer teams, we suspect there's plenty of potential for Audis in the US DTM whether Audi Sport is there officially or not.
Most interesting is his last comment. Dr. Ullrich usually sticks to his philosophy of proving and promoting technology with the Le Mans program but the product support philosophy is an interesting one. Granted, it's not altogether new as Audi has been in the DTM series where profile rear-wheel drive V8 A4 racecars that share nothing really with their roadgoing counterparts have raced for years. Still, recognizing the alternative plan to race purely to promote product opens up possibilities.
We also note with great interest of his mention of that product currently being the A4. The statement either implies or at least acknowledges that Audi might consider changing to a different model in the future... perhaps a big coupe like the A4/S5 or maybe go the opposite way with the next-generation A3 sedan.