For a number of years now, Audi has been racing its four-door sports sedan, the A4, in Germany’s DTM series. That’ll change when the sexy A5 takes over next year. The new car–code-named R17–has a serious challenge going forward, considering the A4 has won the title four times since 2004.
The change is due in part to new technical regulations that will require a new car, and if that’s going to happen, it may as well be time for some hotter two-door skin. The changes mostly involve new safety standards. Says Audi Motorsport boss Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, “Our engineers have been involved in bringing up safety in the DTM, which had already been high before, to the highest possible level,” explains Dr. Ullrich. “At Le Mans this year we learned again that our concept of designing safety structures is a very good and appropriate one. This is exactly what we’ve been trying to feed into the DTM’s safety concept together with our colleagues from BMW and Mercedes-Benz. This new principle is an outstanding example of what is possible when employees of three premium manufacturers try to achieve a common aim: to get the best possible, lowest-cost and safest vehicle –and a fantastic car in general–off the ground.”
For the new rules, the A5 will use a new carbon-fiber monocoque attached to a steel roll cage.There are additional new standards as well, including side structures made of a “hybrid design with a carbon, Zylon and Rohacell construction that is structurally reinforced by pegs. In case of a side impact the walls have to be able to withstand a static load that is about four times higher than before.” That’s probably a good thing, because the A5 DTM will use the same 460-hp V8 as the outgoing A4. The first car is being built now and will debut at the Frankfurt show this fall.