Last year, the Audi RS 5 DTM was the car to be beaten, so Audi Sport is entering the 2016 season with all the more ambitious aims: the brand sporting the red rhomb has firmly set its sights on the titles in the drivers,’ teams’ and manufacturers’ classifications.
“We had the fastest car last year,” says Dieter Gass, Head of DTM at Audi Sport. “In ten of the 18 races, we were the front runners, which means we won more races than our two competitors combined. It was painful for us that, in the end, we weren’t able to clinch any of the three titles. We intend to change that in 2016.”
The technology of the DTM race touring cars is “frozen” due to the regulations, so the Audi RS 5 DTM has remained unchanged in terms of technology compared with last year. Still, the Audi Sport engineers continued to work on the car. “On some tracks, such as the Norisring or Zandvoort, we didn’t manage to fully tap the car’s potential last season. That’s what we concentrated on in winter,” says Dieter Gass. “In addition, there were several occasions in 2015 on which we weren’t consistent enough and were stronger in races on Sunday than on Saturday. This, too, shows that there was definitely more potential.”
In the 2016 DTM season, nine events featuring a total of 18 races – one each on Saturday and Sunday – are on the calendar again. On six of the eight DTM race tracks, Audi holds the track record for qualifying sessions or races. The Hungaroring, which has returned to the calendar this year, is the only venue at which Audi has not yet been able to enter its name on the winners’ list. This, too, is to change in 2016.
In the fierce competition against BMW and Mercedes-Benz, Audi Sport relies on proven partners. The eight Audi RS 5 DTM cars are fielded by Audi Sport Teams Abt Sportsline, Phoenix and Rosberg. All of them have been on the grid for Audi in the DTM for more than ten years. And all three have previously shown that they are capable of winning races.
Unchanged compared with last year as well is the Audi driver line-up, which is regarded as one of the strongest in the DTM. The squad includes three DTM Champions, Mattias Ekström (S), Mike Rockenfeller (D) and Timo Scheider (D). Jamie Green (GB), Miguel Molina (E) and Edoardo Mortara (I) have previously won DTM races as well. Combined, the six Audi drivers are bringing five championship titles and 48 victories to the season. Plus, the two youngsters, Nico Müller (CH) and Adrien Tambay (F), have shown their skills on several occasions. The two swapped cockpits in winter and are entering the 2016 season with fresh motivation. It is Audi’s 20th season in the internationally popular touring car series.
At six of the nine DTM events, the new Audi Sport TT Cup will be featured again this year. It provides young drivers with an opportunity to enter motorsport.