Hitting the track for weather-struck pre-season testing at Vallelunga outside Rome, the new RS5 DTM has been redesigned to comply with the latest round of regulations.
That comes down principally to less downforce and a simpler suspension setup to demand more of the drivers and rely less on the cars’ aerodynamic grip. Power still comes from a 4.0-liter V8 with dual overhead cams and four valves per cylinder. A Hewland six-speed sequential transmission is standard across the series, but output is increased from 460 horsepower (343 kW) to over 500 hp (373 kW). With less drag, the latest cars are expected to top 170 miles per hour (274 km/h).
“Basically, all cars now have the same aerodynamics package,” said Audi’s new DTM project leader Andreas Roos. “Subject to each manufacturer’s individual design are the transition areas between the aerodynamics components and the bodywork of the respective vehicle.”
Having locked out all the bragging rights last year, the Audi will be the car to beat this season. Testing got off to a good start when Jamie Green (the most successful driver in the series to date), defending champion René Rast, and newcomer Robin Frijns took the revised RS5 out onto the track for its maiden run.
“We felt the reduced downforce even during the first virtual tests in the simulator,” said Rast. “The cars are now even more challenging to drive than before. For me, personally, this is great fun and the spectators, too, will enjoy the races that will more than likely be more exciting than ever.”
The 2018 championship kicks off in early May at Hockenheim, following another test session at the same track in April.