Audi returns to DTM with works entry
Text and pictures courtesy of Audi AG
Last season, the motorsport involvement of AUDI AG was concentrated on supporting customer and importer teams. Now, the Audi marque returns to the race tracks with works teams: With a total of six newly developed touring cars based on the Audi A4, two Audi works teams will contest the 2004 DTM (German Touring Car Masters).
AUDI AG continues its successful tradition in touring car racing with its DTM comeback. Audi won, from the word go in 1990 and 1991, the DTM championship title twice in succession with the V8 quattro. Between 1995 and 1999 the Audi A4 quattro was the world's most successful Super Touring Car. Since the year 2000, Team Abt Sportsline has competed in the "new" DTM with coupés based on the Audi TT. The customer team secured the championship title in 2002.
"The DTM has developed really very strongly since its comeback four years ago," explains Head of Audi Sport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich. "Through Abt Sportsline, Audi was represented from the very beginning of the new DTM. With our works involvement we now make a logical step. The German market is extremely important for us and the DTM is a perfect European wide platform."
The Audi A4 DTM with approximately 460 hp is developed by Audi Sport in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm. Team Abt Sportsline receives the status of a works team, handling the cars of Christian Abt, shooting star Mattias Ekström, DTM new entry Tom Kristensen and former junior Martin Tomczyk. Strengthening the Audi DTM squad in a prominent way will be the team from Reinhold Joest. The team which won the 24 Hours of Le Mans three times in succession in the years 2000, 2001 and 2002 with the Audi R8, will run two A4 cars. Three-time Le Mans winners Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro will complete the high-caliber Audi driver line-up.
In addition to the works entry in the DTM, the Audi marque will continue to be actively involved in sportscar racing with the successful Audi R8. During the 2004 season, Audi Sport will support customer and importer teams at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) and in the new Le Mans Endurance Series (LMES). Audi will make their works drivers available to the teams Champion Racing (USA), Goh (Japan) and Veloqx (UK), first and foremost Le Mans winner Rinaldo Capello and the defending ALMS Champion Marco Werner. A new member of the Audi sports car squad is young German Pierre Kaffer (27).
A special highlight of the 2004 Audi Motorsport programme will be the second weekend in June: On 12/13 June, Audi teams contest simultaneously both 24-hour races at Le Mans and at the Nürburgring.