The DTM 2019 – start into a new era
Audi vs BMW vs Aston Martin

The DTM is starting a new chapter in 2019. For the first time, the racing series – which started in 1984 – will exclusively run cars with turbo engines. With around 600 HP, the latest-gen cars are the most powerful DTM vehicles of all time. In the future the new technical regulations will also be adopted by the Japanese Super GT series – paving the way for joint races with the manufacturers from the Far East.

After Mercedes-Benz leaving the series, the DTM now welcomes Aston Martin to join the existing manufacturers Audi and BMW. We will also look forward to new customer teams, such as the Belgian WRT Team, which will enter two Audi RS 5 DTM.

Other regulation changes promise even more exciting racing. The Drag Reduction System (DRS) was revised to make overtaking easier. A slightly wider rear wing is used, now only consisting of a single profile. The drivers are allowed to use the DRS during the race when the distance to the car in front is less than three seconds. During the last five laps, all drivers – except for the driver in the lead – can use the DRS regardless of the distance to the car in front. The new Push-to-Pass system promises even more action: The drivers can now call off up to an additional 30 HP at the push of a button, a maximum of twelve times. This should ensure that the cars can break through the 300 km/h barrier on the longest straights.

The pit stops will see more action as well: Only four mechanics – instead of previously nine – will be responsible for changing the tires. The schedule was revised too: Two free practices take place on Fridays, and one qualifying and one race each on Saturday and Sunday.

ABT Sportsline has been part of the DTM since the 2000 season. In the first four seasons, the Bavarians entered as a small private team with the Abt-Audi TT-R developed in-house to take on the Mercedes and Opel factory teams – and with sensational success: The first two wins already came in 2001, and in 2002 ABT driver Laurent Aiello did the impossible and won the title. Since 2004, ABT Sportsline has entered the popular touring car series as an Audi factory team and has established itself as one of the absolute top teams. ABT won the drivers' championship four times (2004 and 2007 with Mattias Ekström, 2008 and 2009 with Timo Scheider). With overall 55 wins and 67 pole positions, they are the second most successful team in the long history of the DTM.

Since 2018, the DTM has a new TV partner: SAT.1 exclusively broadcasts the races of the popular touring car series live in Germany. The races start at 1:30 pm on each Saturday and Sunday. At Brands Hatch in England, the races will start at 2:30 pm due to the different time zone.



The car
Now with turbo power – the Audi RS 5 DTM

The biggest changes on the latest generation of the Audi RS 5 DTM compared to its predecessor is the 2-liter 4-cylinder turbo engine, which replaces the previous 4-liter V8 naturally-aspirated engine. The turbos provide the DTM with a closer link to the production cars, where similar Audi engines are among the most important gasoline engines worldwide. But they also mean that fans and drivers can look forward to an extra of more than 100 HP: The TFSI engine of the Audi RS 5 DTM installed in the 2019 models, which is referred to as "RC8" internally at Audi, has around 600 HP. With the new Push-to-Pass system, an extra 30 HP can be added to the engine power for a short period. Together with the existing Drag Reduction System (DRS) this will make even more overtaking maneuvers possible.

"The new DTM car delivers a big bang and really goes," enthuses Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline driver Nico Müller. "The turbo engine has immense power. We will experience speeds that the DTM has never seen before. You can really feel the added power. The demands for us as drivers will be even tougher. The car also looks really fast when you are watching trackside. And the sound is fascinating, too. I definitely don't want to trade the turbo back in for the old V8 engine."

The aerodynamics have been completely revised as well: The regulations have redefined the design of the rear wing which is a little wider and consists of only a single profile now, as well as the underfloor, front diffuser and rear diffuser for the 2019 season. At the same time, the engineers have adapted the front end to the more compact turbo engine and its cooling requirements. The redesigned air ducts in the front section give the Audi RS 5 DTM an even more aggressive look compared to the successful predecessor. The defined unladen weight of the new DTM cars was reduced by 50 kg to now 981 kg.

All these changes ensure faster lap times: These could be up to three seconds shorter than before, depending on the track.




The drivers
Nico Müller

Before the season of 2016 Nico Müller changed to the team of Hans-Jürgen Abt being the youngest Audi pilot in the racing series. He was off to a brilliant start: At the season opener in Hockenheim, Müller took pole position and got his first podium with third place. A win at the Norisring was the absolute highlight – it was his first since driving in the DTM. Nico Müller keeps himself fit with cycling. "When it is cold, I prefer my mountainbike, and in the summer I take the racing bike," the Swiss driver explains. In the DTM, Nico Müller uses the number 51, which was already his lucky number in kart racing. "My cousin used to have number 50 on his kart. So when I became his team mate, it was a logical step to take the 51," the aspiring juggler recalls. In addition to his starts in the DTM, Müller also works as a test and development driver for the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler Formula E Team.



2004–2007   Kart

2006   2nd place Swiss Kart Championship (Junior category)

2007   1st place Bridgestone Kart Cup (KF3 category)

2008   5th place Formula Renault 2.0 Switzerland, 3rd place Italian Formula Renault Winter Championship, Best Rookie

2009   1st place Formula Renault 2.0 Switzerland, 11th place Italian Formula Renault Eurocup

2010   3rd place GP3 Series, Best European Driver

2011   4th place GP3 Series

2012   9th place World Series by Renault 3.5

2013   5th place World Series by Renault 3.5

2014   19th place DTM (Audi RS 5 DTM)

2015   21st place DTM (Audi RS 5 DTM), 1st place 24 Hours Nürburgring (Audi R8 LMS)

2016   9th place DTM (Audi RS 5 DTM), 1 win

2017   12th place DTM (Audi RS 5 DTM)

2018   10th place DTM (Audi RS 5 DTM), test and development driver Formula E


Robin Frijns

Robin Frijns moved up to become an Audi factory driver at the beginning of 2018. It was a dream come true for the driver from the Netherlands, who had started out in the GT program of Audi Sport in 2015. He had impressed with numerous wins and titles in the GT3 category since then. And Frijns quickly made a name for himself in the DTM as well: In his first DTM season, he already made it onto the podium twice. In addition to the DTM, Frijns will race for the Audi customer team Envision Virgin Racing in the FIA Formula E in 2019.


1999-2008    Kart, Belgian Cadet Champion 2004, French Junior Champion 2006

2009   3rd place Formula BMW Europe, Rookie of the Year

2010   1st place Formula BMW Europe, 14th place Formula Renault Northern Europe

2011   1st place Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup

2012   1st place Renault 3.5, Young Driver Test Formula 1 (Red Bull)

2013   Formula 1 test driver (Sauber), 15th place GP2 Series

2014   Formula 1 test driver (Caterham)

2015   1st place Blancpain GT Series (Audi R8 LMS), 2nd place Blancpain Sprint Series (Audi R8 LMS), 6th place Blancpain Endurance Series Pro Cup (Audi R8 LMS)

2016   12th place Formula E, 7th place Intercontinental GT Challenge (Audi R8 LMS), 10th place Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup (Audi R8 LMS)

2017   13th place Formula E, 1st place Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup (Audi R8 LMS), 4th place Blancpain GT Series (Audi R8 LMS)

2018   DTM (Audi RS 5 DTM), 1st place 12 Hours Bathurst (Audi R8 LMS)

Milestones / Achievements


ABT Sportsline entered the challenge of the DTM as a private team. The Abt-Audi TT-R, which was developed in Kempten in record time, did not stand a chance against the factory competitors from Opel and Mercedes-Benz in the first year, but quickly became a fan favorite.


A sensational performance: after the first wins in the 2001 season, Laurent Aiello and Team ABT Sportsline took home the DTM title in the third year. The French driver even clinched the deal one race before the season finale, ensuring a roaring party night in the Dutch holiday town of Zaandvort.


After four "privateer" years, Audi officially entered the DTM in 2004 and ABT Sportsline became a factory team. The team managed a brilliant comeback: Mattias Ekström became champion, while his Audi Sport Team ABT Sportsline took home the team title and Audi won the constructors' championship.


He did it again: Mattias Ekström won his second title. The fans were treated to a thrilling season: At the season finale in Hockenheim, three drivers still had an opportunity to win the title, including team member Martin Tomczyk. Ekström only needed a third place in the race to become champion.


The 2008 season was dominated by ABT driver Timo Scheider: The German driver, who now lives in Austria, won his first ever DTM race in Oschersleben and took home the title at the end of the season. Scheider was on the podium in eight of the eleven races and won the title in grand style at the season finale – with another win.


With the third consecutive title, Audi and ABT Sportsline made motorsports history: No other manufacturer before had managed this hat-trick. Once again it was Timo Scheider who defeated Mercedes star Gary Paffett during a thrilling showdown in Hockenheim.


While longstanding ABT driver Martin Tomczyk won the drivers' title, ABT Sportsline celebrated winning the team championship: With four wins and three more trophies, Mattias Ekström and Mike Rockenfeller added another chapter to the success story.


Two years without a DTM victory drove ABT Sportsline to new heights: After the first four races, Mattias Ekström had firmly established himself in the top three, and with wins at Zandvoort and in the season finale at Hockenheim he cemented second place in the drivers' and in the team championship.


The Audi Sport Team ABT Sportsline became team champion of the DTM. After 2004, 2007 and 2011, the Audi Sport Team ABT Sportsline won the team championship for the fourth time with Edoardo Mortara, Mattias Ekström and Mike Rockenfeller, who stood in for the new rallycross world champion Ekström at the season final. Despite five wins in this season, Mortara narrowly missed the driver's championship title by only four points.


With second place in the final standings, the Audi Sports Team ABT Sportsline only narrowly failed to defend the title in the DTM team championship. Mattias Ekström came in second overall, having had to concede the title by only three points in his last DTM season.

Legends never sleep
It marks the end of an era: Mattias Ekström

After 17 years, 195 races, 23 victories and two championship titles, factory driver Mattias Ekström ends his DTM career, which means that Audi’s most successful DTM campaigner to date is leaving this racing series. In 2018, Ekström will concentrate on the factory-backed commitment of his team, EKS, in the World Rallycross Championship. The new member of Audi’s DTM driver squad is Dutchman Robin Frijns.

“This was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever had to make,” says Ekström. “The DTM was my life for a long time and my heart will always continue to beat for the DTM in the future too. However, I’ve also invested a lot of time and energy in my rallycross team in recent years. Without the dual program I’m now able to fully concentrate on one series again and have more freedom again for my family and my children. I’ll continue to compete for my own team and am clearing the way in the DTM for a promising youngster.”

Mattias Ekström began his DTM career in 2001 at the age of 22 in the Audi customer team of ABT Sportsline. In 2004, he raced for the first time as a factory driver and instantly clinched his first DTM title. In 2007, title number two followed and last season he just barely missed another overall victory. Always at his side: Audi Sport, ABT Sportsline and partner Red Bull in whose HANGAR-7 at the Salzburg airport Ekström now announced his decision as well.

Alongside the DTM, Ekström has been competing in the World Rallycross Championship with his own team, EKS, since 2014. As early as in his third year, he secured the world championship title and, as in the DTM, finished last season as runner-up champion. Ekström describes his most recent years as a major dual effort which the 39-year-old no longer wants to shoulder. “Mattias informed us early of his wish to contest only one series in the 2018 season,” says Head of Audi Motorsport Dieter Gass. “Obviously, Mattias is extremely valuable and important for both projects. That’s why this decision was not an easy one for either of us.”

Ekström leaves a gap in the DTM squad which makes it possible for 26-year-old Robin Frijns to be promoted to the ranks of an Audi factory driver. The Dutchman has been active in customer racing for Audi since 2015 and comes from single-seater racing. In a junior driver evaluation in Spain, he gathered initial experience at the wheel of an Audi DTM race car in 2013. “Robin left a strong impression with us even back then and we haven’t lost sight of him ever since,” says Head of Audi Motorsport Dieter Gass. “At the wheel of the Audi R8 LMS, he showed his abilities and is doing a very good job in our Formula E simulator as well. That it’s possible to battle for the title in the DTM even as a rookie was demonstrated by René Rast last year. Robin has great potential and Audi is in a very good position in terms of its driver lineup for the 2018 DTM. We’re convinced of this.”

The remainder of Audi’s DTM driver line-up will be the same as last year’s: Loïc Duval (F), Jamie Green (GB), Nico Müller (CH), René Rast (D) and Mike Rockenfeller (D) have been confirmed as drivers by the automobile manufacturer. This is the team Audi won all three titles (drivers’, manufacturers’ and teams’) with in the 2017 season.

DTM racing calendar 2020

01.- 02.08          Spa-Francorchamps (BEL)

14.- 16.08          Lausitzring (D)

21.- 23.08          Lausitzring (D)

04.- 06.09          Assen (BEL)

11.- 13.09          Nürburgring Grand Prix (D)

18.- 20.09          Nürburgring Sprint (D)

09.- 11.10          Zolder (BEL)

16.- 18.10          Zolder (BEL)

06.- 08.11          Hockenheimring (D)


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