Audi Sport has unveiled its latest challenger for the German Touring Car Masters, the 2013 RS 5 DTM. Rebranded as an RS model from the previous year’s A5 DTM racer, the new contender will mount a fresh title tilt for Audi Sport after narrowly losing the championship to bitter rival BMW in 2012.
BMW triumphantly returned to the sport after a 20-year absence with its M3 DTM race car, and duly released a 54-unit run M3 DTM Champion Edition to celebrate winning the drivers’, team and manufacturers’ titles. Completing the field is the Petronas-backed DTM AMG Mercedes-Benz C-Coupé.
Merely a silhouette racing car series, the RS 5 DTM holds very little in common with the road-going RS 5. In fact, with the car’s technical specifications virtually ‘frozen’ since the end of last year’s championship, what you see here is no different than the A5 DTM raced last year. It’s merely a rebranding exercise to promote Audi’s sportiest production models.
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, Head of Audi Motorsport however claims, “The performance data of the current RS 5 and RS 5 DTM are very similar. This is why we are of the opinion that both fit perfectly to one another.”
Eight Audi RS 5 DTMs will join the grid for the upcoming season, fielded by three proven Audi Sport squads Abt Sportsline, Phoenix and Rosberg. Heading the offense will be Mattias Ekström and Mercedes-defector Jamie Green, forming the most successful driver combination in the entire 2013 DTM field with 25 race wins and two championship titles between them.
Audi last won the DTM title in 2011 with Martin Tomczyk at the wheel. Since the turn of the century, Audi and Mercedes have won the constructor’s championship six times each. Can either of them add to their tally, or will BMW come out tops again? The season starts on May 5 at the Hockenheimring.