The new Audi A5 DTM, which uses the internal project name "R17" at Audi Sport, has been built to conform to the new 2012 Technical Regulations for the German Touring Car Championship.
Visitors to the Frankfurt Auto Show tomorrow will have the opportunity to get a first-hand impression of the new car, which is based on the A5 model. As a result, it appears lower and sturdier than its A4 successful predecessor with which Audi has won four of the last seven DTM titles.
Underneath the carbon body is a new type of hybrid chassis construction. The combination of a carbon fiber monocoque and steel rollcage sets new standards in terms of safety for a touring car. The chassis is one of more than 50 components which are identical for all DTM vehicles, which all share a 108” wheelbase.
"Due to these shared components, it was possible to achieve the cost reduction target of up to 40 percent without compromising safety," explained Dr Wolfgang Ullrich of Audi Motorsport, who was in charge of the Audi A5 DTM development. Like its predecessor, the A5 DTM is powered by a 460hp V8 engine. The six-speed transmission, now pneumatically operated by paddle shifters on the steering wheel, is new. The shifting is more precise than conventional manual shifts and allow the unit to last four-times longer, up to 15000 miles.
The engine electronics (Bosch MS 5.1) operates without fuses, and the central display is already being used in the Audi R8 LMS. The exclusive tire partner, Hankook, is supplying larger and wider tires to the series.
A safety fuel tank with a capacity of 32 gallons US is integrated with the carbon fiber cell, allowing the current DTM race distance to be completed without a refueling stop. For longer races, a refueling system is under development.
The front engine and rear transmission subframes are identical for all DTM cars and limit what engineers can do in respect to suspension, which has to be mounted to the shared components. Furthermore, steel A-arms must be used with predetermined tube dimensions. For the hub carrier, the regulations define the material, minimum weight and production process to be used. Additionally, the regulations define the wheel hubs and wheel sizes for all entrants.
The aerodynamics are also restricted, with airflow through the body (as with the current A4 DTM) and complex additional wings no longer allowed. This creates a stronger resemblance to the production cars while reducing aerodynamic sensitivity to body contact with other vehicles, as well as drafting improvements thanks to the larger rear wing.
"In the past, Audi has been very innovative with its aerodynamics in the DTM," said Dr Martin Mühlmeier at Audi Sport. "Since these areas have been subjected to severe restrictions, detailed solutions will now be crucial to achieving advantages over the competition."
The "R17" project was launched in May 2010 and a month later the decision was made that the A5 would serve as the base model. Trials in the wind tunnel have been running since February 2011.
The roll-out was successfully performed on July 29, 2011 by Martin Tomczyk. Since then, testing has been underway and car’s homologation is scheduled for March 1, 2012. Before that date, Audi Sport engineers still have time to fine-tune the car.