This weekend 72,000 fans gathered at a special DTM presentation in Wiesbaden to meet the teams and drivers, watch racing taxis perform spectacular drifts, lightning-quick pit stops, and see the new DTM contenders from Mercedes, Audi and newcomer BMW up close.
More than 55,000 tickets have been sold for the eagerly anticipated first race of the new DTM season on the Hockenheimring next weekend. Organizers expect the grandstands to be completely sold out for the first battle between German’s big 3 car makers in DTM since the 1990s.
As you would imagine, there is a mountain of promotional material, some of which would bore even the most dedicated enthusiast, so we’ve selected some of the best snippets of information together with some great new pictures of the 2012 contenders.
BMW in the DTM 2012
BMW return to the DTM championship in 2012 for the first time in almost 20 years. The company’s most recent works involvement in the series came between 1984 and 1992, during which time it left its mark with 49 victories, 30 pole positions and 3 drivers’ titles.
The very first DTM race ever was won by a BMW driver: Harald Grohs, at the wheel of the BMW 635 CSi. By the end of the season, Volker Strycek had secured the title in the same car.
BMW Team Schnitzer is once again involved under the leadership of Team Principal Charly Lamm. Bruno Spengler and Dirk Werner will line up for the team from Freilassing. Three-time World Touring Car Champion, Andy Priaulx, and Augusto Farfus will represent BMW Team RBM, while reigning DTM champion Martin Tomczyk will race alongside Joey Hand in the newly formed BMW Team RMG.
The BMW M3 DTM has been developed from scratch by BMW Motorsport and is powered by the 4.0-litre BMW P66 V8 engine, equipped with
regulation air restrictors and producing around 480bhp.
BMW’s M3 made its racing debut in 1987 and was designed specifically to compete in the DTM. It went on to become the most successful touring car of all time and set new standards both on track and on the road.
Eric van de Poele finished in the points at nine of the ten races, clinching the 1987 DTM title for BMW in the M3’s first season.
BMW has scored more DTM victories at the Hockenheimring than any other circuit, with BMW drivers crossing the finish line first on ten occasions. Many of the stars from back then will also be there at the track to watch the return of BMW to the DTM live: Grohs, van de Poele and Ravaglia will be joined in Hockenheim by Steve Soper.
Mercedes-Benz in the DTM 2012 – Vital Statistics
Eight drivers from four countries will contest the 2012 season in the Mercedes AMG DTM C-Coupé, the successor to the AMG Mercedes C-Class – the most successful ever DTM car to date.
Two rookies – Roberto Merhi and Robert Wickens – will make their DTM debuts with Mercedes-Benz in 2012.
These rookies, together with Jamie Green, Ralf Schumacher, Gary Paffett, Christian Vietoris, Susie Wolff and David Coulthard form a powerful Mercedes-Benz works team in the DTM.
A new Mercedes-Benz Junior Team has been formed for the first time in 2012 with Merhi, Vietoris and Wickens. It is modelled on the successful concept from the 1990s – which launched the careers of Michael Schumacher, Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Karl Wendlinger.
The eight Mercedes-Benz DTM drivers have a combined total of over 29 years’ experience and 294 DTM races to their credit.
Gary Paffett and Jamie Green – with win rates of 21 percent (17 wins in 81 races) and 10 percent respectively (7 wins in 74 races) – are among the four most successful current DTM drivers.
Mercedes-Benz is the most successful manufacturer in the DTM with 165 victories and ten drivers’, thirteen team and nine constructors’ championships.
The DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé weighs 1100kg and is powered by a 500bhp 4.0-litre V8 engine with 500 Nm.
100 facts about Audi and the DTM
- Audi has won a total of eight DTM titles to date.
- 2012 marks the 17th DTM season tackled by Audi.
- The brand with the four rings has so far contested 194 DTM races and won 61 of them. 64 times an Audi racer took the pole position and 53 times the fastest race lap to date was set by an Audi driver.
- In 1990 and 1991, Audi was the first automobile manufacturer to achieve two consecutive DTM title wins.
- In 2007, 2008 and 2009, Audi was the first – and has so far remained the only –automobile manufacturer to win the DTM title three times in succession.
- The Audi V8 quattro won in 1990 at its seventh race, the A4 DTM in 2004 at its third race in the DTM.
- For eight years, Audi in the most popular international touring car series was relying on its top seller, the A4, that took a total of five DTM titles (in 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011).
- The Audi A4 DTM clinched 34 of the 61 race wins achieved by Audi in the DTM.
- There have been a total of seven different versions of the Audi A4 DTM: R11 (2004), R12 (2005), R12 plus (2006), R13 (2007), R13 plus (2008), R14 (2009) and R14 plus (2010).
- From 2006 to 2011, Audi and Mercedes were battling for the DTM title between themselves. The final score: 4–2 for Audi.
- From 2000 to 2003, the Audi brand was represented in the DTM by the customer team Abt Sportsline that privately fielded coupes based on the Audi TT, and in 2002 won the title with Laurent Aiello.
- After the V8, the TT and the A4, the A5 is the fourth model to be fielded by Audi in the DTM. So far, Audi has clinched at least one title with each model range for Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm.
- Length, width, height, wheelbase and overhangs are identical for all DTM vehicles to assure maximum equality of opportunity. Models that do not fit the mold are scaled accordingly. The A5 DTM required almost no scaling versus the production model.
- An Audi A5 DTM consists of around 4,000 parts – about 50 of them are specification parts prescribed by the DTM regulations for all manufacturers.
- The Audi A5 DTM bears the internal project name “R17” at Audi Sport.
- The “R17 project was launched on May 4, 2010.
- The prototype of the Audi A5 DTM did its first kilometres on the Audi test track in Neustadt on July 29, 2011.
- The Audi A5 DTM celebrated its world debut on September 12, 2011 as part of the Volkswagen Group Night held before the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt.
- Since March 1, 2012 the technology of the DTM vehicles for the 2012 season has been largely frozen.
- Around 30,000 test kilometres were reeled off by Audi Sport with the A5 DTM prior to its first racing run.
- The Audi A5 DTM is 5.01 meters long, 1.95 meters high and 1.15 meters low. All DTM vehicles have an identical wheelbase of 2,750 millimetres.
- A DTM wheel weighs over 22 kilograms – the teams’ mechanics train at the gym to handle this weight.
- The current-generation DTM vehicles are regarded as the race touring cars boasting the highest safety standards in motorsport history.
- The carbon fibre monocoque of the Audi A5 DTM weighs merely 126 kilograms, the roll cage 32.5 kilograms.
- In the mandatory crash test the side wall of the monocoque has to resist a force of 360 kN, which equates to 36 metric tons or 36 small cars.
- The requirements specified for the – now 65-centimeter-long – crash absorbers at the front and rear ends of the vehicles have been raised. In addition, a total of four side-impact crash absorbers are installed in the cars for the first time.
- The A5 DTM is currently using the same engine as its predecessor model, the A4: a V8 with 4.0-litres of displacement, around 340 kW (460 hp) and thus comparable performance ratings as the 4.2-liter V8 unit used in the top-of-the-line RS 5.
- The transmission that is now operated by means of paddle shifters on the steering wheel can achieve a mileage of up to 24,000 kilometres.
- The steering wheel of the Audi A5 DTM has a diameter of merely 28 centimetres.
- Unlike the A4 DTM, which still had a steel roof, the Audi A5 DTM has a body made of CFRP.
- Just like the production model, the Audi A5 DTM has headlights with LED daytime running light. Audi is a trendsetter in the field of LED technology. At the Le Mans 24 Hours, Audi has been the first automobile manufacturer to compete with full LED headlights since last year.
- Around 200 employees work for Audi Sport at the two locations Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm.
- Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich has been at the helm of Audi Sport since November 1993. In 2004, he led Audi back into the DTM and has clinched the title six times since then.
- For over 30 years, Audi Sport has been part of the Technical Development division of AUDI AG. This is one of the reasons why the technology transfer between motorsport and production is very intensive at Audi. Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich reports directly to Michael Dick, Member of the Board of Management of AUDI AG for Technical Development.
- Dieter Gass has been serving in the role of “Head of Racing Commitments” at Audi Sport since January 1, 2012, reporting directly to Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich.
- In parallel to the DTM, Audi in 2012 is involved in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and the two 24-hour races at the Nürburgring and at Spa. In total, the Audi Sport squad of around 200 members with support by the partner teams is handling no less than 21 factory racing commitments in the 2012 season.
- For 2012, Audi Sport concurrently developed three new race cars: the A5 DTM, the R18 ultra and the R18 e-tron quattro – the first diesel hybrid vehicle for the Le Mans 24 Hours that marks the return of quattro drive to motorsport. Audi Sport customer racing – with the R8 LMS ultra and the R8 GRAND-AM – contributed two other new customer sport race cars.
- Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline is fielding four vehicles in the DTM, supported by 53 employees. Audi Sport Teams Phoenix and Rosberg are each entering two Audi A5 DTM cars, with 26 employees being assigned to the DTM commitment by each team.
- All three Audi Sport teams have been involved in the most popular international touring car racing series ever since the DTM was re-launched in 2000. ABT Sportsline relied on Audi vehicles from the outset. Phoenix Racing and Team Rosberg have been partners of Audi Sport since the 2006 season.
- Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline is based in Kempten in the Allgäu region of Bavaria, Audi Sport Team Phoenix in the industrial park Meuspath near the Nürburgring and Audi Sport Team Rosberg in Neustadt an der Weinstraße.
- With five DTM driver titles to its credit, Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline is the so far most successful Audi DTM team.
- With an average age of barely 27 years, Audi is competing with the youngest driver line-up of the three manufacturers in the 2012 DTM.
- Aged 21, the Frenchman Adrien Tambay is the “junior” in Audi’s line-up, Mattias Ekström (33) the “senior.”
- The Audi drivers in the 2012 DTM season hail from seven different nations (France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain). Edoardo Mortara has dual citizenship (Italy/France). Timo Scheider is German but races with an Austrian license.
- Switzerland is clearly the preferred residence of the Audi drivers. Four of the eight DTM racers live there.
- With 17 wins under his belt, Mattias Ekström is the brand’s most successful DTM racer in front of Hans-Joachim Stuck (11).
- Mattias Ekström, Timo Scheider and Mike Rockenfeller have achieved all of their previous 24 victories in the DTM at the wheel of Audi vehicles.
- Six of the eight 2012 Audi DTM drivers have been on the DTM podium at least once.
- Audi most recently provided the best DTM rookie – Miguel Molina (2010) and Edoardo Mortara (2011) – twice in succession.
- Mattias Ekström was pleased about the allocation of number “3” to his car. It was the number of the car in which the Swede won his second DTM title in 2007.
- Filipe Albuquerque and Miguel Molina took German lessons at the Audi Academy in Ingolstadt during the winter.
- Tipping the scales at 50 kilograms, Rahel Frey – as could be expected – is the flyweight in the 2012 Audi driver line-up, Mattias Ekström – with 77 kilograms – the heaviest Audi racer.
- Audi’s 2012 Le Mans driver line-up includes four former DTM racers – Dindo Capello, Oliver Jarvis, Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish – and one from the current season, Mike Rockenfeller.
- Audi Sport was able to secure the support of a total of 21 partners for its involvement in the 2012 DTM.
- “Audi Sport performance cars” stands for all high-performance cars from AUDI AG, such as the Audi R8 or the RS models from quattro GmbH.
- For the first time since 2005, the DTM includes a manufacturers classification again, which Audi 2004 decided in its favor once before. The six best vehicles of a manufacturer, respectively, are classified.
- In the 2012 DTM, points are awarded for the first time according to the system used in Formula 1: 25-18-15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1 for positions one to ten.
- Refuelling during DTM races is no longer permitted. The Audi A5 DTM has a 120-liter fuel tank.
- Each race has two mandatory pit stops for tire changes. A quick pit stop in the DTM takes less than three seconds, the same time it takes the Audi A5 DTM to accelerate from rest to 100 km/h.
- 14 mechanics perform a DTM pit stop – three per wheel, plus one man with the wand that supplies compressed air to the air jack system in the car and the famous “lollipop man” who directs the A5 to the right position in the pit lane with a sign that looks like an oversized lollipop.
- The minimum weight of a DTM vehicle was specified at 1,100 kilograms for the 2012 season – including 85 kilograms for the driver. Drivers who weigh less than that have to take appropriate ballast on board.
- Per race weekend, a driver may use a maximum of 28 unused slicks (14 front and 14 rear tires). 40 tires are permitted for the first weekend.
- For all DTM events – from the beginning of the first DTM event to the end of the last classification race – a maximum of three engines are permitted per two registered drivers. No mechanical component inside the sealed engines may be worked on, removed or exchanged.
- Two drivers combined may use a maximum of six sets of brake discs.
- The length of the free practice sessions was increased to 100 minutes (per each of two sessions) in the 2012 season.
- In addition to the national flag and the driver’s last name, the so-called “three letter code” that clearly identifies each driver must be displayed on the rear side windows this year. The codes at Audi are: ALB (Albuquerque), EKS (Ekström), FRE (Frey), MOL (Molina), MOR (Mortara), ROC (Rockenfeller), TAM (Tambay), TSC (Scheider).
- Since the past season, Hankook has been the DTM’s exclusive tire supplier. Compared with last year, the wheels have larger dimensions (12 x 18 instead of 10 x 18 inches at the front and 13 x 18 instead of 11 x 18 inches at the rear axle).
- For the third consecutive time, the official season presentation is held in Wiesbaden, the capital of the state of Hesse.
- The DTM season opener is taking place at the Hockenheimring for the 16th time. Since 1995, the circuit in Baden-Württemberg has been the traditional venue of the first DTM race of the year.
- At a total of ten classification races, points are awarded in the 2012 season. In addition, like last year, there is a show event at the Munich Olympic Stadium at which two drivers per run compete against each other in a knock-out format.
- Seven DTM events are held in Germany in 2012; in addition, there are visits to Great Britain, Austria, the Netherlands and Spain.
- All DTM qualifying sessions and races are broadcast by ARD live on “Das Erste”.
- According to calculations by Audi Sport the top speed (around 260 km/h) in the 2012 DTM season is reached at the end of the Parabolika at the Hockenheimring. The slowest corner – at around 50 km/h – is turn 1 at the Norisring in Nuremberg.
- 62,000 spectators on average attended the DTM events last year. On its debut, the show event at the Munich Olympic Stadium immediately attracted 54,000 spectators.
- On a total of five of the nine DTM tracks, Audi is holding the qualifying record (Hockenheim, Spielberg, Zandvoort, Oschersleben and Valencia).
- On the Spanish circuit at Valencia, Audi has remained unbeaten in the DTM so far – the same applies to Audi factory driver Mattias Ekström.
- Audi was most successful in recent years at Zandvoort and Oschersleben with five victories since its return to the DTM with a factory commitment in the 2004 season.
- “DTM” was originally an abbreviation for “Deutsche Tourenwagen-Meisterschaft.” The three letters subsequently stood for “Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters.” “DTM” has meanwhile become an independent trade mark.
- 2012 marks the 26th season for the DTM – including its international offspring, the “ITC”, in 1996. 269 DTM events with 379 classified races have been held so far in total.
- The narrowest finishing gap at a DTM race was 0.089 seconds (Norisring 1996), the largest lead 51.96 seconds (Mainz-Finthen 1985).
- The most commanding victory in the DTM since its re-launch in 2000 was achieved by Mattias Ekström in the Audi A4 DTM 2011 at Oschersleben. After a memorable wet race the Swede crossed the finish line with a 42.167-second advantage.
- Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz last competed against each other at a DTM race on June 18, 1992 at the Nürburgring Nordschleife.