Touring car racing has to be one of the best forms of racing out there, in the opinion of this author. For the past three decades, the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters or DTM for short, has consisted of ordinary humdrum saloons that our dads and teachers would drive, but after some motorsport magic was added to them, it heroically went wheel-to-wheel at break neck speeds with some of the fastest drivers in the world.
What’s even more amazing about touring car racing is that we saw our some of our favorite racing drivers get behind the wheel of some of the most recognizable motors on the streets. Those incredible drivers made heroes out of ordinary saloons and gave us some of the best spectacles in motorsports, and we loved that. In that delectable mix of goodness was Audi Sport.
Audi was on fire and had some of the most incredible machines on track, especially in the early nineties and from the millennium onwards. The Four Rings alone bagged 23 Championship titles including 11 driver titles, 114 race wins, 345 podium finishes, 106 pole positions and 112 fastest laps. That is quite the CV.
“Audi has shaped the DTM and the DTM has shaped Audi. This demonstrates what power lies in motorsport – technologically and emotionally,” says Markus Duesmann, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG. “With this energy, we’re going to drive our transformation into a provider of sporty, sustainable electric mobility forward. That’s why we’re also focusing our efforts on the race track and systematically competing for tomorrow’s ‘Vorsprung.’” Formula E offers a very attractive platform for this. To complement it, we’re investigating other progressive motorsport formats for the future.”
Yes, Duesmann confirmed something we’ve dreaded for a while now. Audi will be leaving one of the greatest touring car racing championships in the world and will instead be focusing all their efforts on electrified motorsports, and since 2014 that effort was known as the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler Formula E Team. With 41 trophies under their belt, the team is one of the most successful teams in the fully-electric racing series.
But why would Audi just give up on touring car racing? According to a statement by the company, it said that “the management board of AUDI AG made this decision also in light of the economic challenges due to the corona pandemic and communicated it to ITR e.V., the DTM’s umbrella organisation.”
However, Audi’s departure isn’t as straight forward as you might think and will affect the balance of the DTM series, perhaps even irreversibly. Consider this. The DTM’s 20 car grid consists largely of Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi products and are supported by those factory teams. With Mercedes-Benz out since 2019 and Audi after 2020, the only manufacturer left on the grid for the 2021 season is BMW.
“We’re hoping that this currently difficult situation will improve soon and that we’ll still be able to contest a few DTM races this year,” says Member of the Board for Development Hans-Joachim Rothenpieler. “The fans would deserve this, and so would the ITR, our drivers as well as our teams and partners, who will now have adequate advance notice to reposition themselves for the time after 2020. Successful motorsport is – and will continue to be – an important element of Audi’s DNA.”
For the sake of racing, we sincerely hope that things clear up for the German giants. Watch this space for updates. For more information on Audi and for the best deal on your next brand-new car, please visit our Showroom. Take up our Best Price Challenge today.