Audi’s dominant 2017 DTM performance will be hard to repeat this season, as the series brings in rules to level the playing field.
With even less downforce than last year (25%, in fact) and simplified suspension setups (no more “third element” linking the wheels on the same axle, DTM is hoping to pause the technological arms race and encourage driver-focused competition.
For Audi, which won the manufacturer’s, team’s, and driver’s championships last year, this should hurt, allowing BMW to catch up a bit. But Audi’s head of motorsports, Dieter Gass, is unconcerned.
“We are in agreement with DTM CEO Gerhard Berger about the future of the DTM,” said Gass in a statement. “The further reduction of downforce and simplified suspension promise an even greater spectacle for the fans.”
You may notice that the new RS5 DTM looks a little different than last year’s and that’s because of the aero rules.
“Basically, all cars now have the same aerodynamics package,” says Andreas Roos, the new Project Leader DTM at Audi. “Subject to each manufacturer’s individual design are the transition areas between the aerodynamics components and the bodywork of the respective vehicle.”
That means that wheel arches and spoilers change significantly from last year.
Following the first preseason test in Vallelunga, DTM champ Rene Rast, said he noticed the difference between this season’s and last season’s car.
“We felt the reduced downforce even during the first virtual tests in the simulator,” says René Rast. This impression was confirmed on the race track. “The cars are now even more challenging to drive than before. For me, personally, this is great fun and the spectators, too, will enjoy the races that will more than likely be more exciting than ever.”
The DTM season will kick off on May 5 and 6 at the Hockenheimring, where Audi will try to earn a second championship in a row.