filter by category
A roundup of DTM news in the week leading up to and including the opening round at Hockenheim.
From Spa to Hockenheim [source: Audi Sport]
Many journalists and employees of Audi Sport used the opportunity to witness two important races on a single weekend: Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, Head of Engine Technology Ulrich Baretzky, Chris Reinke, Head of LMP at Audi Sport, the Le Mans winners Dindo Capello and Allan McNish, plus many others, watched the WEC race at Spa-Francorchamps on Saturday and the DTM season opener at Hockenheim on Sunday.
Miguel Molina Loses Grid Position Six [source: Audi Sport]
Miguel Molina was relegated from sixth to the last position on the grid at the DTM season opener at Hockenheim. The reason: The prescribed dummy camera in front of the right rear wheel was missing on his Audi RS 5 DTM. Due to the oversight Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline violated Article 18.1 of the Technical Regulations. The team accepted the penalty and did not appeal the decision.
Stadler and Hackenberg Visit Audi DTM Squad [source: Audi Sport]
The DTM season opener again showed that motorsport at Audi is a matter of top-management interest. Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, kept his fingers crossed for the Audi DTM squad at Hockenheim, as did Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ulrich Hackenberg, Board Member for Technical Development.
Fan Club Supports Nico Müller [source: Audi Sport]
Youngster Nico Müller was supported by visitors from his native Switzerland. 70 members of his fan club followed him to his first DTM race and got together with their favorite race driver at a ‘Meet & Greet’ event at the Audi Team & Media Hospitality.
Pierre Casiraghi in the Audi RS 5 DTM [source: Audi Sport]
Pierre Casiraghi, the youngest son of Princess Caroline of Monaco, experienced the Hockenheimring as a passenger of Daniel Abt in the Audi RS 5 DTM race taxi. The Monegasque made his debut as a race driver in the Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup at Hockenheim. He was introduced to motorsport by Le Mans legend and Volkswagen representative Jacky Ickx, who provided hands-on assistance and advice to Casiraghi at Hockenheim.
Audi Drivers Visit DTM Fan Party [source: Audi Sport]
All eight Audi DTM drivers and Audi GT driver Rahel Frey visited the DTM fan party at Hockenheim on Saturday night. The event hosted by radio channel SWR3 kicked off its traditional ‘SWR3 Goes Clubbing’ season opener party.
Birthday Cake Lands in Face [source: Audi Sport]
Celebrating a birthday on a race weekend harbors a certain risk. Ossi Oikarinen was the ‘victim’ at the Hockenheim season opener. The technical director of Audi Sport Team Rosberg was 44 on Saturday. Team boss Arno Zensen placed the birthday cake in the Finn’s face with pinpoint accuracy – a ritual that is common practice in racing.
Professional Athletes Visit Audi at the DTM [source: Audi Sport]
The DTM season opener attracted numerous active and former professional athletes to Hockenheim and to Audi. Soccer star Günter Netzer had the opportunity to personally try out the Audi RS 5 DTM on Friday. His colleague Klaus Augenthaler and the two Olympic gold medalists in team jumping Marinus Knaus and Andreas Wellinger got to enjoy a ride in the Audi RS5 DTM race taxi alongside GP2 race driver Daniel Abt. The son of swimming legend Michael Groß was also sitting in the passenger seat. A long-standing regular guest at Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline in the DTM is World Soccer Champion Andreas Brehme.
Concert Talent Meets Audi’s Newest DTM Driver [source: Audi Sport]
Carolin Niemczyk and Daniel Grunenberg from the – still young – band ‘Glasperlenspiel’ performed on the show stage in the pit lane as part of the ‘ARD Chart Show’ during the curtain raiser at the Hockenheimring. Before their show act, the young musicians had Audi youngster Nico Müller explain the Audi RS 5 DTM to them at the garage of Audi Sport Team Rosberg.
Günter Netzer Drives the Audi RS 5 DTM [source: Audi Sport]
Even before the professional race drivers hit the track at the Hockenheim DTM season opener the ‘Motodrom’ saw a unique premiere. The former German soccer star Günter Netzer personally took the wheel of the Audi RS 5 DTM and drove three trial laps. Before going out, the popular sportsman had received track and driving tips from Audi’s DTM Champions Mike Rockenfeller and Mattias Ekström.
As a professional soccer player Günter Netzer was known for ‘breaking through from deep midfield.’ With his long passes the midfield playmaker of the 60s and 70s would thwart the plans of many an opposing defender and caused the description of his play to become a household phrase in German sportscasting. On Friday, Netzer broke through from deep midfield again – but this time the venue was not a soccer stadium but the Motodrom of the Hockenheimring. And his sports equipment was not a leather ball but a genuine race car: the Audi RS 5 DTM, with 460 hp of power output and a speed of up to 280 km/h.
Before Netzer, as the first celebrity ever to do so, took the wheel of an Audi RS 5 DTM, the current DTM Champion Mike Rockenfeller and his Audi brand colleague Mattias Ekström provided him with background information on the car and the race track. During a joint recon run on a motor scooter, ‘Rocky’ explained the challenges of the Hockenheimring to Netzer. Afterwards, the two-time Champion and Hockenheim winner Mattias Ekström familiarized the soccer idol with the functions and special characteristics of the touring car.
The last bit of nervous tension disappeared as soon as the Audi RS 5 DTM began to move with Netzer at the wheel. “This was like playing soccer: once the game starts you stop being nervous,” commented Netzer. After three laps on the 4.574-kilometer circuit, Mike Rockenfeller waved the checkered flag on Netzer’s race car debut in the Audi RS 5 DTM, which Netzer summed up by saying, “A fantastic experience I’ll never forget. It further heightened my enthusiasm for motorsport, the DTM in particular, and my respect for the DTM drivers. I used a maximum of 25 percent of the car’s potential. Thinking about the performance of these guys when they’re driving at the limit and battling for positions in the process – I take my hat off to them!”
For Mike Rockenfeller, the meeting with Netzer was a special experience too. “I only knew him from television before and my impression of him on TV has been confirmed here: a likeable person and a great sportsman. He was visibly impressed by the dynamics of the Audi RS 5 DTM. Of course you can’t experience the DTM in a more intensive way than driving the race car on the track yourself.”
Günter Netzer is not the only German World Soccer Champion to keep his fingers crossed for Audi at the DTM season opener on location. Klaus Augenthaler and Andreas Brehme, who in 1990 had a part in Germany’s last FIFA World Cup title win to date, are guests of the four rings at Hockenheim as well.
Q&A: Dieter Gass [source: Audi Sport]
Three Audi RS 5 DTM cars in the top four – a reward for the work of the past months?
We saw a superb race and a good performance by Audi today. The thanks for this go to the members of our teams and the Audi Sport squad who made such a great effort to put us in the position of being in contention for victory here in the first place. The points and trophies are a nice recognition of this commitment.
So now it’s time for a breather?
No, not at all. We won’t lean back and relax but will take this result at the opener as motivation to stay on the ball. The time after the race is the time before the race – this motto now applies to us in a particular way. We’ve still got the post-homologation coming up, which will take effect in the race at Budapest, so that we won’t slacken in our efforts of continuing to develop our RS 5 DTM.
There have been a few adjustments made to the regulations for this year. Let’s look at pit stops and option tires, for example. Can you draw an initial conclusion yet?
The option tire is still of major importance, which can be expected to change from track to track though. However, the performance in qualifying has become a lot more important this season. Those who start at the front will typically do so on option tires and will then have the best opportunities to achieve an advantage over the rest of the field. Here at Hockenheim, it’s been confirmed that this is the optimal situation to win races.
The long-awaited comparison of strengths is over now. What can the DTM fans look forward to this year?
To an extremely exciting season. Audi and BMW were extremely balanced here at Hockenheim in qualifying and in the race. I’m sure that Mercedes will battle their way back. We saw today that especially in the last third of the race, when different strategies come together, the competition becomes really fierce again. I think that’s exactly what the fans want to see.