With a seasoned driver squad whose combined tally reflects a total of 478 races, 34 victories and four titles plus an Audi RS 5 DTM that has been optimized in many details, Audi is entering the 2013 DTM season on May 5. Technical innovations such as the use of option tires and a rear wing that can be adjusted by the driver on track make for an additional thrill this year.
The DTM has rarely ever before entered a new season with so many unknown quantities. Accordingly, there is a high level of suspense in the Audi Sport squad and Audi Sport Teams Abt Sportsline, Phoenix and Rosberg. After a winter of intensive work and positive track tests in the past few weeks, the mechanics, engineers and drivers are all looking forward to the first real comparison of strengths with BMW and Mercedes-Benz this year.
Three innovations are awaiting the teams and drivers:
The Drag Reduction System (DRS) that makes it possible to flatten the rear wing angle by depressing a button on the steering wheel is designed to make overtaking on the race track easier. The system can deliver a speed advantage of five to ten km/h – with respect to how it will perform in the direct duel with the competition there is still a question mark before the opening race.
The option tire developed by tire partner Hankook allows faster times to be driven on a specified number of laps and provides the strategists with an additional tactical tool.
The more compact schedule of the race weekend severely limits the working time that is available to the mechanics. With only one 90-minute free practice session before qualifying the experience of the teams and drivers is more crucial than ever before: a fact that could be playing into Audi’s hands because, with a total of 478 races, 34 victories and four titles, the driver squad of the four rings holds all the top marks in the series. Furthermore, the three Audi Sport teams combine the know-how gained in more than 450 DTM races.
A rookie again, despite his 83 DTM races, is Jamie Green, who will be competing at his first race weekend as an Audi factory driver at Hockenheim. The Briton, who has previously won eight rounds – including four events at the Norisring – is the only newcomer to the driver squad of the brand based in Ingolstadt. In addition to Green, Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich and Dieter Gass, Head of DTM, rely on drivers from last year: a mix of seasoned campaigners and ambitious youngsters with an average of 28 years.
In line with the compact schedule, the timing of the two most important events of the weekend has slightly changed as well: Qualifying starts at 14:30 on Saturday, May 4 and the race on Sunday at 13:30.