The 2012 DTM contenders come out to play at Hockenheim (w/video)

The 2012 DTM contenders come out to play at Hockenheim (w/video)

Next season’s DTM series promises to be a classic, as BMW join Mercedes and Audi on track for the first time since 1995. For the DTM season finale at Hockenheim today, the contenders met for the first time in a friendly demonstration for the fans.

BMW works driver Dirk Werner completed two laps of the Hockenheim track in the “BMW M Performance Accessories M3 DTM”, with eight-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen joining him in the new 2012 Audi A5 DTM.

Audi’s Hans-Jürgen Abt spoke about his enthusiasm for the 2012 season, “I’m already looking forward to a new era in the DTM. Continuing with the new cars for Audi and meeting with BMW as another competitor is a huge challenge. For the team as well it’s a huge task. It has to sort itself anew with the new technology.

Audi A5 DTM2012 Audi A5 DTM driven by Tom Kristensen

I know that I’ve got a tremendous squad. I look forward to us taking on the competition. That has always been our strength, particularly at the beginning of such a new era. We’ll let ourselves be surprised.”

BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt said: “This event was something very special for us. Since the early morning there have been clusters of people around our car, and it was simply breathtaking to be able to present our car in front of such a crowd.

The reactions to our car were all positive. Today gave us all a lot of extra motivation to present ourselves in top form in half a year’s time at the same venue.”

Fitted with a powerful new V8 engine generating approximately 480 bhp, the M3 DTM accelerates from 0 to 62 mph in a little over three seconds and has a theoretical top speed of nearly 190 mph.

BMW works driver Dirk Werner commented: “It was a great experience to be able to do today’s demonstration laps. Obviously I drove the BMW M3 DTM at the recent tests – but a stage like this really is something special. You could feel the spine tingling atmosphere even in the car.”

BMW M3 DTM2012 BMW M3 DTM which was driven by Dirk Werner at Hockenheim today

The new “BMW M Performance Accessories” livery of the BMW M3 DTM had been presented to a few members of the public at the BMW Autohaus Krauth in Heidelberg (DE) on Friday.

Around three months earlier, on July 15th, the BMW M3 DTM concept car was officially presented at the BMW Welt in Munich (DE). From 2012 on, BMW will compete in the DTM with three strong teams, the BMW Team Schnitzer, the BMW Team RBM and the BMW Team RMG. The BMW works drivers Andy Priaulx (GB) and Augusto Farfus (BR) have already been confirmed as drivers for the 2012 season.