At the recent second pre-season Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters test at Vallelunga, Audi Sport made the decision to run the new third generation RS5 DTM on the Italian circuit, with two-time champion Mattias Ekström and multi-time race winner Jamie Green on testing duty for the Ingolstadt marque.
It also saw the début of Müller’s new livery for the 2017 season, as well as the homologated bodywork that Audi are running this season, albeit with some further amendments within the new regulations.
Head of Audi Motorsport Dieter Gass was happy with no failures for the RS5 DTM over the three days of testing in “perfect external conditions” in Italy, with such a regulation change keeping the teams and drivers on their toes.
“It was important for us to drive the final car in this last pre-season development test and to make optimum use of the few test days available to us in the DTM,” he said, as the Ingolstadt brand is looking to further success in the forthcoming season.
Ekström, who took the car out on the first and last day of the second test, racked up a total of 1,439 kilometres in the new car, and is looking forward to the challenges the new regulations will bring to the DTM this year.
“We tried out a lot of different things: short stints, long runs, qualifying simulations and many different set-up variants,” admitted the Swede, who was impressed with the car after the first full day of running.
“The new DTM cars are definitely more demanding in terms of driving skills. Plus, finding a perfect set-up compromise for the softer tires and the changed aerodynamics is a great challenge. The season is going to be packed with excitement for sure!”
Green, who had competed previously at the circuit, based just 20 miles north of Rome, had to reacquaint himself to the 4.085-km track, but was pleased to get some mileage under his belt.
“We managed to pull off our entire program – it was a productive day,” said the Briton, who could again factor into what looks like an even closer fight for the drivers’ title in 2017.