From hunter to hunted
DTM-Champion, winner of the team and manufacturers’ trophy, the top-four positions in the championship secured by Audi drivers: the 2017 DTM season was the most successful year for Audi in the history of the sport. As reigning champions, Audi will be the hunted in 2018. “We always set ourselves the goal to win the title. This won’t change because we had an amazingly successful 2017 season,” says Audi Motorsport Director Dieter Gass. “We want to again win as many titles as possible – and first of all the drivers’ championship that is of particular significance, in DTM In the off-season, the pack was reshuffled. In 2017, the Audi RS 5 DTM was the car to beat but now, all the DTM cars will race with a control aero package that reduces the downforce by some 25 percent. At the same time, the suspension-adjustment options also have been limited and so, Audi had to change the philosophy they used to date. Audi is the only manufacturer on the grid that keeps on relying on the services of three race teams. Each of the three proven teams, the Audi Sport Teams Abt Sportsline, Phoenix and Rosberg will run two Audis RS 5 DTM in 2018. The driver line-up was changed just slightly for the title-defence campaign. Reigning champion René Rast and Jamie Green will keep on racing for Audi Sport Team Rosberg while 2013 DTM Champion Mike Rockenfeller and Loïc Duval will represent – just as they did in 2017 – the Audi Sport Team Phoenix colours. Nico Müller, however, once again an Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline driver, will contest the season with a new team-mate: Mattias Ekström’s decision to retire from DTM for good after 17 years and fully focus on the FIA World Rallycross Championship offered Robin Frijns the chance of advancing to DTM as Audi works driver. Audi is one of the most successful manufacturers in DTM and the only one so far that succeeded in securing a true DTM title hat trick: in 2007, 2008 and 2009, Audi won the DTM Drivers’ Championship in three consecutive seasons. Altogether, the Ingolstadt based manufacturer has got a total of ten drivers’ titles, six team titles and four manufacturer titles on their tally. Apart from DTM, Audi also is involved in Formula E, the World Rallycross Championship and in customer motor racing.