Audi have added an extra car to their 2012 DTM lineup, which will be driven by single-seater convert Adrien Tambay.
The marque previously announced a team of seven drivers to pilot its brand new A5 DTM model, but has now increased the number of vehicles it will field to eight.
21-year-old Frenchman Tambay, the son of former Formula 1 driver Patrick, makes the switch to the DTM after racing mainly in Auto GP for the past two seasons, winning one race in each campaign. He also won a race in the GP3 Series in 2010.
Tambay will be a teammate to Rahel Frey at Audi Sport Team Abt. Abt will now run four cars in an eight car lineup. Rival Mercedes are yet to announce their full lineup but are also expected to run eight cars with its 'main' team HWA running four.
Tambay secured the seat after an evaluation of a number of young drivers, with the final decision being made after a test on Monday. He will start testing the A5 DTM for his team during the official DTM tests in Valencia next week.
“We were poised for fielding eight vehicles in the DTM as early as last year and are assuming that no later than in 2013 all manufacturers will be competing with at least eight cars,” said Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich.
“As we had to develop an extremely challenging hybrid car – the Audi R18 e-tron quattro – for the Le Mans 24 Hours and concurrently a completely new DTM vehicle we were initially planning for seven cars in 2012. I'm happy that the opportunity to enter eight cars has now materialized.
“I'm convinced that in view of the DTM's high level it'll be advantageous to compete with the maximum number of possible cars. The competition will be very close – an additional vehicle also means an additional chance. Plus, an even number makes more sense than an uneven number in terms of logistics and team effort.
“We took several young drivers on board in recent years, some of whom joined us from Volkswagen's talent incubator in Formula 3. I feel that today Audi has a very good base in terms of its driver line-up, which also means that the brand is oriented toward the future. This also applies to Adrien, who convinced us in tests and is a good fit for the Audi family.”
However, it is not yet clear whether Tambay will be able to make his DTM debut at the season opener at Hockenheim.
“We're currently working at full stretch on duplicating a sufficient number of cars of the A5 DTM model that was homologated on March 1 and to ensure appropriate spare parts supply,” explained Dr. Ullrich. “This is a major logistical feat and puts maximum demands on the entire squad. Our aim is to field the eighth car as early as possible.”