Car Spotlight>> Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters 2012 At Essen

Unless you’re living in New Zealand and are enjoying the height of the D1NZ drift season, this time of year is slim pickings for us race fans. The sound of unhinged racing engines has fallen silent at motorsport venues across the world. Champions have been crowned, celebrations finished, and post mortems completed.

For people like me, this isn’t necessarily a good thing. I absolutely love car racing in all its various forms, so any month without the smell of race fuel is not something to cherish.

But while I can choose to indulge in feelings of boredom, perhaps it’s
better to keep the spirits up by looking forward to some exciting new
developments for the 2012 season.

I’m referring no less to the revival of the DTM series which will see the introduction of three all new cars next year …

… and the return of BMW after an absence of twenty years.

There’s a lot at stake here; the new cars promise to offer up closer, more aggressive racing, against a new low cost formula, with increased levels of driver safety to boot. This could be exactly what touring car racing needs: a direct injection of adrenaline laced German carbon fiber.

But before we look at the new DTM machines, let’s take a moment for a quick history lesson.

The DTM as we know it today traces its roots back to the 1970s race series the Deutsche Rennsport Meisterschaft which combined GT and Touring cars together under Group 4 and Group 5 rules.

The BMW Junior Team 320i we’ve all come to love are DRM machines for example.

In the early 80s, the DRM switched over to the new Group C prototype formula but the new cars proved too expensive as the basis of a national championship. Something new was needed to fill the void.

In 1984, the Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft was founded. Based on the FIA’s Group A Touring Car rules, the championship proved to be an instant success and overnight, the DTM became one of the most popular race series in Europe.

From 1990 to 1992, for three glorious years, BMW, Audi and Mercedes factory teams met in regular combat across Germany’s race tracks.

Fans of the DTM now look back on this time as a golden period of German Touring Car racing with record crowds coming out to see their favourite cars and drivers battling for glory.

Audi is noted as winning two titles with its AWD V8 Quattro: in 1990 with Hans Stuck and 1991 with Frank Biela.

On a side note: Haters please have a look at the offset of those wheels – look familiar?

The Audi V8 was up against some pretty legendary company too. This is the 1992 DTM Championship winning Mercedes 190E of Klaus Ludwig.

Also in the mix was the original E30 M3 DTM; a rather fine piece of kit. Here Altfid Heger gets some air on the Nordschleife in 1991.

Audi and Mercedes have been racing each other in the DTM since the series relaunched in 2000. But is hasn’t been since 1992 that they have faced up against the likes of BMW.

So the announcement that BMW are rejoining the party after all these years has rejuvenated interest in DTM for 2012.

In discussing the prospects with the management at BMW Motorsport and the DTM, the consensus is that we could be about to enter a new golden era of racing.

It’s worth noting here, that these cars are part of a new global platform that will likely include the Japanese Super GT series and an American based DTM series run by NASCAR and Grand Am.

The idea is simple: a manufacturer like Audi, Nissan, Lexus, BMW or Mercedes only needs to invest in the design and production of a silhouette racers once.

And from this, they will be eligible to run in series in Europe, Japan and America.

As far as I know, full unification with Super GT and Grand AM has yet to be 100% confirmed and announced.

But study the cars and you’ll see more than a passing resemblance to Super GT machinery.

These are extremely low slung machines.

They’ve been conceived to work as a low cost formula, with many standardized elements designed to keep racing close and budgets down. The wheel-base, overhangs and side profile are said to be common between all three models.

This is especially apparent in the DTM M3 which clearly has a smaller greenhouse than its road going cousin.

The rear wings are also exactly the same between all three cars.

I’ve also read that the rear diffusor and even the carbon fiber monocoque tub is common ….

You could say this is Europe’s answer to NASCAR. The cars share next to no parts with road going machines.

But in looking at the new Audi A5 DTM Coupe, I think the DTM organizers have got the formula just right.

The new 2012 cars are anything but homogenized sheet metal blobs with painted on logos and lights. They look like street models where it counts with all the bits you want to see from a proper touring car.

Interestingly, they will have more rubber on the ground compared to the outgoing DTM cars. This increase in mechanical grip will make the cars less dependent on aero traction and allow them to run much closer together.

Aerodynamics have also been simplified, with the aim of making the cars
more robust and tough. We should see a lot more rubbing next year!

BTW while we are on that subject, have a look at the downforce generating rear fenders on the Mercedes. It’s quite a different solution to the Audi and BMW.

When shown Essen this weekend, the Mercedes was also sporting full length side barge boards.

The BMW on the other hand has a much more open lower waistband, almost like an F1 car. You can see how air is being channeled right through the car from a front diffuser.

This pulls the airflow over a most unusually placed set of flipups… in front of the rear wheels.

Look closely and you can see the Audi has some very small flipups in a similar location, along with some extreme looking door mounted exhausts. You have to wonder if they have been placed there specifically for an aerodynamic effect.

The Mercedes exhaust is lower and further forward along the side of the car…

… where as the BMW has a rear exhaust exit.

The front aero options are also said to be common between the three cars.

At a quick glance this certainly looks to be the case.

Personally I don’t think these cost saving elements will detract from the spectacle that will be DTM 2012.

Each of the cars will be powered by a four liter V8 engine producing in the range of 500BHP.

This combined with a full 1050KG carbon race chassis is a perfect recipe for aggressive, powerful, high tech race cars. Which is how we like it!

Are we about to see a new classic era of racing? Will we see DTM and Super GT style cars racing across the planet in the coming years? Time will tell.

What I can say is that round one of the 2012 DTM race season can’t come soon enough! Until then, our German and Benelux based Speedhunters readers can still head over to the Essen Auto Show to check out the cars.

:Rod Chong

Additional photographs care of DTM, Porsche, Mercedes, Audi & BMW.

DRM Retrospective Articles on Speedhunters

More DTM Stories on Speedhunters



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They're called dive-planes, not flipups. Otherwise, great article.


3 words- BAD ASS CARS!!!!!!!!


Love the old DTM pics. Have any more>?


This is gonna be one helluva show.


you forgot pictures from impressive (old) DTM cars - especially opel calibra, opel omega or ford mustang ;)


Thank You Speed Hunters. Thank You.


Did anyone else see what looks like a fox body mustang in picture 10?


Low and wide......this is the fact why I love this cars. German quality!(Y)


@Kip, I saw it too.

Amazing article, lovin the BMW and Audi.


DTM cars are hottt. old and new!


We still have racing going on in Australia, V8 Supercars are about to wrap up their year with an awesome street circuit event at Sydney Olympic Park this weekend. It would be nice if Speedhunters shared some of these beasts with the rest of the world as it is a super popular formula in Australia and cars that people in most other countries rarely get to see.

As you can see I am pretty excited for the race this weekend :D


I never see these on american tv! D:


You would have been better off referencing Australias V8 Supercars than Nascars as they're more likely to be part of the V8SC races and they're much more similar in rules and regs. There's been rumours and stories going around for some time now about allowing these automakers into the Aussie V8 SC championship - hopefully we'll see these going up against the Holdens and Falcons soon


These beasts would annihilate the Commodores and Falcons. 200kg less weight, more downforce, tyres from LMP2 cars....the V8 Supercars wouldn't stand a chance


the costsaving elements are somewhere else. if i remeber it correct, mercedes, audi and bmw have now the same frontsuspsension, rearsusepnsion & differential. this year, the front susension was different form audi & mercedes for example. also they have the same cockpit (looks alot like one from the new mclaren car). essentially, this are the same cars with different bodykit and the engine is still build by the manufactor. but the specs are more or less the same (max 4000cc v8 90°). if you ask me, this cars will not bring back the good old days of groub a racing. actaully, they are killing it. no new technology's.


Looking forward to it, but in my opinion this shouldn't be classed as a touring car formula. The article itself calls them silhoulettes. Touring cars have and always will be modified road cars. The next few years should be good for motorsport though, with this emulating Group 5/Super Silhouette/IMSA GTX. I just wish the cars were a little more unique to each manufacturer, changing the engine for example. But, I guess in these hard times, cost is everything.

I'll forever be more of a fan of touring cars though, whose future is also looking bright with the BTCC's new NGTC regulations.


for me, the racing will have to be good to compete with the BTCC. the cars there are much more like what i own and see everyday.


The Japanese don't want to play. They refuse to unify the rules as far I understand. It would be great for the Germans, the Americans, and the Japanese to all race against each other but when one doesn't want to play nobody can force them.


I think that desktops with the old cars and the 2012 cars would be a great idea.


Nice work Rod, can't wait to see these on track


They look awesome for the most part but those swan neck wings are hideous.


i beg you pardon, WHAT? did the guy writing this "article" (subtitles to photos more like) used the term "hater"? i know that you ain't a journalist, but it is nice to have some kind of standards - or to stick to what you can do: photographng and leaving writing to others


i hope thay all use pushrod engines and carburators. Seriously this is what NASCAR should be. Dodge challenger, chevy camaro, and ford mustand


DTM cars are hottt. old and new!


Nice writeup, but you completely forgot the Class One Touring Car era of 1993-1996. For me that era is the golden one of DTM as the series became very popular all around Europe and the cars were truly spectacular.


omg these cars look sick!!!! i would love to see DTM vs Super GT!!!!!


@Kip, no I think it's Ford Sierra


Beautiful cars, look more like art than race machines, but I 've always liked the saloon body shapes better. Good to see BMW back.


Great little article for DTM past and present! Mercedes and AMG put together some amazing machines but they have nothing like the 190E anymore, sadly.


I would love to see a review of all old dtm cars , alfa155 ,opel calibra ...I see this mustang too



It called Ford Capri, -the german version of the mustang


Great article, especially liked the history part

You got me even more excited to see the new machines in action


High Tech racing? I'm quite sure, more people like the old school racing better, Without technology.


The M3 looks too cool. Just soemthing about front guards that sit higher than the bonnet line that makes me go weak at the knees! Hopefully it adds to some more improved, close racing for 2012.


I agree with FormulaJD, Nascar should take notes.

Did you see the Nationwide Challenger ? They look like a Chevrolet Lumina.


what happened to OPEL??? that astra was a real nice race car!


not bad looking cars just until the new v8 series stats in nz as they are using the same wings and tryes as the dtm cars


Great post. I loved the detail shots of the aerodynamic features. That Mercedes rear fender is crazy! Ive never seen anyone try to generate downforce that way.


The thing I loved about DTM in the 90's was the totally over the top street cars. STREET cars. They still looked like the cars on the road, yet extensively modified. Each with unique things: different engine (4/6/8 cyl), front wheel drive vs rear wheel drive vs all wheel drive, etc etc. Not a bunch of tubes with different covers that vaguely look like a car but the same engines and layouts. No thanks.


Anyone know if it's possible to watch the whole race on UK tv or the internet? The coverage seems to follow the formula of 'announce the winner, watch some overtakes then end'. I wish they would follow a more conventional 'show the race in the correct order' method.


Unfortunatly the DTM is not what it was in the 90´s. I´m not saying I want the 90s back, it was just more about racing. And don´t forget there were Alfa Romeo and Opel as well! I miss them. WTCC had some seasons reminding me of the old DTM...


Looking at this makes me want to go play Shift2. Those DTM cars are fast.


right click, save... Every single picture! And I'm putting this spotlight in my favorites. The M3, my god the M3! All the cars are amazing, really.


I totally agree with Frevo, I'd love to see a real series where the cars a still street cars, it makes it way more fun and really drives innovation in cars you can actually buy. Formula 1 covers my high tech needs :)


Looking at this makes me want to go play Shift2. Those DTM cars are fast.


For my next Essen Motor Show feature, I'm going to concentrate on showcasing race and drift cars


luv the 'low-cost formula' thingy but please please please dont take the route of NASCAR!!!


@Sneaky Squirrel and Phil

Actually it really is a Mustang. There is a Capri in picture eight, but no Sierras in these pictures.


You definitely forgot to mention Alfa 155, which made Germans really angry :)