The DTM Series is back in action this weekend as the season opener kicks off the championship at Hockenheim.
Audi will be on the grid in the RS5 DTM as the title defenders having won the Drivers’, Manufacturers’, and Teams’ Championships in 2017.
“The DTM season is very compact and the winter break is long,” says Head of Audi Motorsport Dieter Gass. “It’s high time for events to start again. We expect an extremely thrilling season in which everyone, following the discontinuation of the performance weights, will strictly be racing flat-out – exactly what way fans like to see. For me, there are no real favourites.”
Over the winter, new regulations were brought in with Audi, BMW and Mercedes having specification aerodynamics, further reduced downforce and fewer suspension setup options.
“I expect the field to move even closer together,” says reigning DTM Champion René Rast. “I’m excited to see if we drew the right conclusions from the pre-season tests and where we stand compared to the competition. In any case, it’s a great feeling to travel to the season opener at Hockenheim as DTM Champion.”
Since the 2017 finale, which was also at Hockenheim, a number of changes have taken place in Audi’s DTM squad as well.
Rast, will be driving a red car this year, rather than black. Mike Rockenfeller‘s Schaeffler Audi will appear in white-green for the first time. Nico Müller and Loïc Duval both have new sponsors as well as new race engineers. Robin Frijns is newcomer to the team as he replaces Mattias Ekström. Jamie Green, will once again race in the orange Hoffmann Group Audi for Team Rosberg.
A special appearance will be made at Hockenheim by Ekström. The most successful Audi DTM driver is going to driver a seventh Audi for the weekend which will not count towards the classification. The Swede is returning to the series for the opener so he can get the send off he deserves.
Ekström made the decision at the start of the year to the leave the DTM and focus on the FIA World Rallycross Championship.
For his guest appearance, ten additional mechanics from Audi Sport and ABT Sportsline have been drafted in. His pitstops will be served by the crews of Frijns and Müller. His race enhineer will be Markus Michelberger who used to work for Miguel Molina and is currently responsible for reigning FIA Formula E champion Lucas di Grassi.