As we wind down our Volkswagen Group features I thought it would be a good idea to pay a homage to Audi's winged warriors; their modern DTM race cars
The modern era of DTM was relaunched in 2000 and is comprised of some of the most extreme looking race cars on the planet.
The first Audi efforts in the DTM were from the privateer team Abt Sportsline with a stretched wheelbase TT. They managed to take the 2002 Championship with Laurent Aïello driving. If you study the image closely you'll see that the DTM was relaunched with 2 door coupes as the basis of the series.
Audi entered the DTM as a factory effort in 2004 with the A4. By this time the three factories agreed to switch body types to feature four door saloon models in true touring car fashion.
2004 proved to be fruitful year for Audi as they took both the manufacturers and drivers titles with Mattias Ekström.
Another feature off the 2004 season was a street race in Shanghai. It was only used once though…. the series has not returned since.
2005 saw the introduction of the new Audi Corporate face on the A4… I remember the race commentators didn't like the look of the car at the time, but IMO it has stood the test of time reasonably well.
2005 also had a round of the DTM at the Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. This was the scene of Mika Hakkinen's first DTM victory. Here he leads the field through Eau Rouge… I guess the Audi squad was having a bad moment that day….
Here is a rear view of the 2006 spec Audi… You can see that the signature rear flip-ups are in full effect….
I'm amazed at how far Audi has pushed their headlight design in recent years. This shot is from Brand Hatch 2007, but already the race-spec headlights looked dated.
Compare to the latest generation A4 from 2008, also at Brands Hatch…. Audi has really pushed headlight design into the future.
Did you know that the chassis code designation for the 2008 DTM A4 is "R14"? It is this car which really pushed the boundaries of GT and Touring car aerodynamics. Look at how the rear door has been cut up to aid the air exiting the underside of the car. I've never seen anything like this anywhere previously….
Looking at the 2009 spec machine we can see the rear of the car has also been opened up compared to the 2006 model. When I see how radical this car looks, I wonder what these cars will look like in a few years!
These DTM cars surely spend a huge amount of time in the wind tunnel….
A nice close up shot of the rear flip ups… I'm still waiting for a time attack car to copy this style.
A rare shot of the cockpit…. This looks more like an F1 car than anything else!
The driver is located in the middle of the wheelbase to optimize weight distribution.
An opening shot from DTM 2009 Round 1 at Hockenheim shows the Audis currently enjoy a slight advantage over their Mercedes rivals.
The round 1 winner was Tom Kristensen, who took victory after Mattias Ekström suffered a puncture and had to slow.
Check out the winglet now hanging off the rear "door"…
Congratulations to Tom Kristensen for his fourth DTM victory. We'll be rooting for you Tom at Le Mans in a few weeks!