Audi entered its cars in the IMSA-GTO race series in 1989. The IMSA Audi 90 quattro developed an impressive power output: 720 bhp. With seven wins, including five in first and second place, Audi was championship runner-up at the end of the series. Stuck and Audi only failed to carry off the title because of the decision not to enter for the Sebring and Daytona long-distance races.
Immediate success in the DTM
In 1990 Audi entered the V8 quattro for the DTM events on home ground. Not having been conceived initially as a sports model, it was mocked mercilessly as a “chauffeur’s car”. In an exciting series of races culminating in a dramatic final on the Hockenheimring, Hans-Joachim Stuck took the DTM title. Four Audi V8s were on the starting grid when the next season began, driven by Stuck, Biela, Jelinski and Haupt. Biela won both heats of the final event and secured the championship title for Audi, which became the first manufacturer in the history of the DTM to defend its title successfully.
Audi wins the ‘Supertourisme’
In the 1993 season Audi went racing in France, one of its most important export markets. Frank Biela was entered for the French ‘Supertourisme’ Touring Car Championship, driving a 272 horsepower Audi 80 quattro, and took the championship title at the end of the season. In the D1 ADAC Touring Car Cup, held for the first time in 1994, Audi again raced before German enthusiasts, this time with the Audi 80 ‘competition’ as its entry.
Seven national championship titles
The 1996 racing season saw Audi at the starting line in German and Italian championship events, but also in the British Touring Car Championship. With support from the local importers the Audi A4 Supertouring also took part in national touring car championship series in Belgium, Spain, Australia and South Africa. With overwhelming success – Audi took the national titles in seven countries.
Audi TT-R in the DTM
The ITR organising body permitted the ABT-Sportsline team to use the Audi TT as the basic car for the DTM championship, a series revived in 2000. The season proved to be a year of apprenticeship for the team, which collected only a meagre 19 points in the championship rankings. For 2001 the rules were slightly modified, and ABT-Sportsline ended the season as runner-up. Laurent Aiello took the championship title in 2002, but in due course the Audi TT-R’s racing career came to an end: by the autumn of 2003 Audi had decided to rejoin the DTM with a works team.
Audi factory team wins DTM
With the newly built Audi A4 DTM Audi took the team prize and the manufacturer’s championship title. Mattias Ekström was runner-up in the drivers’ rankings in 2005. Tom Christensen made it to the winner’s podium in 2006, with third place overall. In the following season Mattias Ekström headed the drivers’ rankings with Martin Tomczyk in third place. The Audi Sport ABT-Sportsline team took first place in the team rankings by a considerable margin. The title was defended successfully in 2008, with a win for Timo Scheider and third place for Mattias Ekström. In the season’s team rankings, Audi came second, third, fifth and seventh. Then came the first hat-trick in the history of the DTM championship: in 2009, with Timo Scheider retaining his previous year’s title.