Audi will use its A5 model in the 2012 DTM, it has announced. The two-door coupe, internally designated the R17, will replace the four-door A4 DTM which has won four titles since its introduction in 2004.

It will meet the new technical regulations for 2012 that have been created by the German federation DMSB and series promoter ITR together with the manufacturers.

“In 2012 new Technical Regulations will come into effect in the DTM,” said Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “We've got exactly the right model for that in the A5. We're convinced that we'll be able to continue Audi's success story with it in the DTM.

“Our engineers have been involved in bringing up safety in the DTM, which had already been high before, to the highest possible level,” explained 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.”

The first prototype of the R17 is currently being built at Audi Sport's facilities in Ingolstadt. It will be unveiled to the public at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt.

The new Audi A5 DTM has a high-strength carbon-fiber monocoque that is combined with a steel tube cage. In addition to the A- and C-pillars the new regulations also require a B-pillar in front of the driver's head to be installed in the future. The car also features a reinforced sidewall to protect in the event of a side impact.

For Audi the new DTM regulations are a continuation of its work to improve safety of its vehicles. “We've continuously improved in this area and will do so in the future as well,” said Dr. Ullrich. “The new DTM vehicles are the best piece of proof that you can make something that is already very safe even saver. This is another thing we mean by 'Vorsprung durch Technik.'”

The A5 DTM will use a V8 engine with a power output of around 460bhp, taken from the A4 DTM and almost entirely unchanged.