Nico Müller, René Rast and Mike Rockenfeller have been introduced for the first time to the new Audi RS5 DTM car, which loses the 4.0-liter naturally aspirated V8 in favor of a two-liter turbo with 600bhp.
Next year’s DTM season shifts away from large-capacity naturally aspirated engines, while the Japanese Super GT Championship will do the same in 2020.
With almost 100bhp more than the old V8, the new ‘RC8’ engine will make the RS5 DTM considerably faster than before, even if sound quality might suffer.
Audi’s DTM drivers tested the new car for the first time at Estoril. Nico Müller said, “The new DTM car has terrific muscle and momentum. The turbo engine has awesome thrust.
“We’re going to see speeds that the DTM has never seen before. The power boost is really noticeable. This is going to make even greater demands on us drivers. The car also looks really fast when you stand trackside. The sound is fascinating too. I definitely wouldn’t want to swap the turbo for the old V8 aspirated engine again.”
“As a race driver, you always welcome more power. The new car feels like a go-kart and is huge fun,” commented Rast, and Rockenfeller agreed: “I love the turbo engine and am sure the fans are going to love it too. The sound is great and the car a lot faster. We can all look forward to next year.”
Apart from the engine, the 2019 RS5 DTM gets a number of other changes. The rear wing, underfloor, front and rear diffusor are refined for the 2019 regulations. At the same time, the engineers adapted the front end to the more compact turbo engine and its cooling requirements. Due to the clearly modified front airflow, the Audi RS 5 DTM sports an even more aggressive look than its predecessor.
“Obviously, we still have a lot of work to do at this early stage, but the tests were positive,” said project leader Andreas Roos. “The fact that a new race car works so well right on day one can’t be taken for granted. Everyone in our DTM squad can be very proud of this.”
“We’re pleased to see that the first impressions of our drivers confirm exactly what we were aiming to achieve with the new DTM race cars,” said head of Audi Motorsport Dieter Gass.
“The cars are faster, more challenging to drive, look more dynamic and sound really good. The DTM is at the beginning of an exciting era. Even at this point, I can hardly wait to see the new cars in a race for the first time. The improvement of the power to weight ratio can be seen with the naked eye. With that, we’re taking a clear step toward the ‘ride on a cannon ball’ that Gerhard Berger would like to see.”