Immediately after each DTM race weekend, Audi Sport and its four teams start preparing for the next event. The Audi RS 5 DTM cars and equipment are cleaned, inspected and prepared for the next race event.
After the race is before the race: When the checkered flag drops at Sunday’s DTM race, Audi starts preparing for the next event in the popular touring car racing series. Usually there are only 14 days in between. That’s why every minute until then is precious.
As soon as all Audi RS 5 DTM cars have been scrutineered by the officials after the end of one of the DTM events and released for transport, the four teams will start their work. The nine Audi Class 1 touring cars will be checked for visible defects and cleaned of the coarsest dirt. Then cars and equipment are packed and loaded.
Before midnight they will set off for their own workshop by articulated lorry – every Audi team has three of them – for ABT Sportsline to Kempten in Bavaria, for Phoenix to Meuspath in the Eifel region, for Rosberg to Neustadt an der Weinstraße and for the customer team WRT Team Audi Sport to Baudour in Belgium. The five Audi Sport trucks are simultaneously heading towards Neuburg an der Donau, back to the Motorsport Competence Center of the brand with the four rings that opened in 2014. Three exceptions will arise in 2020 as a result of the compact calendar with events on consecutive weekends: in August twice at the Lausitzring, in September at Assen and then subsequently two rounds at the Nürburgring and in October at Zolder.
With the exception of their two-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engines developed in Neckarsulm, the 2020-spec Audi RS 5 DTM cars were designed and produced at the Audi site in Neuburg. It was also there that the teams’ engineers and mechanics assembled “their” cars in close cooperation with the Audi technicians before the season started. The outstanding DTM race car of the 2019 season, which has won twelve of 18 races and all three titles, consists of about 4,500 individual parts.
“At Audi Sport in Neuburg we always see our factory cars again after the season,” says Andreas Roos, Audi’s DTM Project Manager. “Between the races our fielding teams have to dismantle, inspect and service the cars at their facilities in accordance with the regulations defined by Audi Sport,” says Roos. This means that a running time is precisely defined for each component and is precisely recorded. Once it has expired, the component in question must either go to Audi Sport in Neuburg for inspection or be replaced.
“We pay particular attention to the safety-relevant components, i.e. brake system, steering system and wheel carrier,” says Andreas Roos. Under the direction of their two race engineers, the teams from Abt Sportsline, Phoenix, Rosberg and WRT reassemble their Audi RS 5 DTM with previous, overhauled and new parts before each race event. “Finally, each team checks in their workshop whether all systems are running perfectly again and transmits the data of these functional tests to Neuburg,” explains Audi’s DTM Project Manager.
The handling of the engines is prescribed in the DTM by regulations as follows: For its six factory cars Audi may use a maximum of nine of its high-efficiency engines with exhaust gas turbocharging per season. This means an average of 1.5 engines for each race car. “During the season, the sealed engines may only be opened under the supervision of the DMSB for the engine inspection or valve clearance check as precisely defined in the regulations,” says Roos.
For Audi’s DTM project manager, regular meetings of the technical and the sporting working group of the ITR are also scheduled between the races. At these meetings, the participating manufacturers exchange information with the representatives of the DTM umbrella organization.
Meanwhile, in addition to their two racing cars, the teams are also getting the equipment needed for track operations back into shape. The inventory list for each team comprises around 120 items – from batteries to tents. Material and equipment per team takes up around 80 cubic meters of space. The equipment is stowed in around 100 transport boxes.
This also applies to the tires of exclusive DTM partner Hankook. The three Audi partners themselves bring the approximately 100 rims per team on which the dry and rain tires from Hankook are fitted on the race weekend.
The most important work of the Audi factory drivers between the races also takes place at the wheel. At a real steering wheel, but on a virtual track – in the driving simulator in Neuburg. The driver duos Robin Frijns/Nico Müller (Abt Sportsline), Loïc Duval/Mike Rockenfeller (Phoenix) and Jamie Green/René Rast (Rosberg) spend one day each at Audi’s Motorsport Competence Center before the race weekends in simulated test runs. In addition to the Audi engineers, the engineers of their teams are also involved. “We want our partners in the field to come to the simulator test with their own ideas and suggestions and to try them out with the drivers and us from Audi Sport,” says Andreas Roos.