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26 July 2011

Audi steps up the A5 for DTM 2012

Words by Christopher Kho | Photos courtesy of Audi AG
 
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For the past eight years, Audi has been wielding the A4 for their assault in DTM with much success, propelling them to four driver's championships in 2004, 2007, 2008, and 2009. But in 2012, the distinguished four-door saloon will have to sit it out in the sidelines as the A5 coupe will soon take its place on the starting grid. Internally designated as the “R17,” Audi's latest contender has yet to see the light of day, but design sketches reveal that it’s fit to take the chequered flag in first.
 
Based on the recently-updated A5 coupe, the Audi A5 DTM will bear a carbon fiber monocoque construction with a steel tube cage just like all the race cars on the grid. It will also inherit the 460hp V8 and six-speed transmission from the current A4 run in DTM. New technical regulations, however, focus on improving safety standards for next year's season that makes the A5 DTM a very different machine from this year's A4. 2012-spec vehicles must now be able to withstand a side impact force four times stronger than before, thus requiring monocoques and sidewalls to be reinforced. Emphasis has also been added to the front and rear crash absorbers that call for a slower deceleration rate to protect the driver. And starting next year, fuel tanks will be integrated into the carbon fiber monocoque to reduce the risk of catching fire in a crash. 
 
According to Audi, the A5 DTM design is still a concept study and merely suggests the look of the upcoming race car that's currently being built in Audi Sport's headquarters in Ingolstadt. But we don't need to wait that long to see the real deal when Audi unveils it at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.
 
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