Deutsche Touring wagen Masters or better known to us as DTM is a premier touring car racing series. Presently Audi and Mercedes Benz are the two marques that race in DTM and BMW has expressed intention of joining the series in 2012 after it quit Formula1. Motorsports Director of BMW Mario Theissen had said that BMW had decided to take part in production car racing rather than F1. Volkswagen, the parent company of Audi had always insisted that it would look at production car racing seriously since that has relevance to cars that are made for everyday use. This year Audi has high hopes since there is a new tyre supplier in the form of Hankook and it believes that it can turn the situation to its advantage. Here is a press release from Audi in it entirety. The spelling of tyre as tire is Audi’s own.
DTM countdown: Proven technology, new tires
2011 is the fourth and final year of racing for the current A4 DTM originally developed by Audi Sport for the 2008 season under the project name “R14.” The car evolved to become the “R14 plus” in 2009 after a technical update. Both model versions are in action again this year, since DTM car technology is frozen since August 2009. Further developments are prohibited.
While Audi Sport works feverishly in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm on the internally labeled “R17″ successor complying with the new regulations valid from 2012, the technicians face a completely different challenge for the 2011 season: They have to adapt the A4 as well as possible to the tires of new DTM exclusive supplier Hankook, without being able to change the car’s basic technology.
Audi suffered painfully last season through the significance of the tire’s impact in the DTM. The new design of the former supplier did not harmonize with the A4 DTM. The Audi drivers complained about the lack of “feedback” from the front axle and the rear tires could not be stressed as in the previous years. “Our hands were tied since the technology is frozen,” remembers Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich uneasily of the 2010 season in which Audi could only win two races after taking three successive DTM championship titles.
The Audi Sport technicians were justifiably sensitive when in the DTM – just like in Formula 1 – a change of tire supplier appeared on the agenda. During joint development tests with the new Korean partner, the primary aim of all parties involved was to configure a tire for the 2011 season which disadvantaged none of the competing manufacturers – despite the technology freeze.
Previous test results appear to confirm this goal. “We have to applaud Hankook,” says Mattias Ekström, DTM Champion in 2004 and 2007. “The company has designed and produced a tire for the first time for demanding DTM race cars like our A4 DTM. The tire works very well. Hankook deserve a big compliment.”