The new guard

With DTM now contested with GT3 cars, Audi has taken up seamlessly from where it left off last season.

At the halfway mark of the current season, Audi Sport leads the DTM in both the teams’ and driver standings.

24 August, 2021

Rarely before has a racing car in the DTM been as superior as the Class 1 version of the Audi RS 5 DTM

Challenging as it was for so many well known reasons, the 2020 DTM season (German Touring Car Masters) proved to be the most successful DTM season ever for Audi Sport and the end of an era. It was also the last season of the all-conquering Audi RS 5 DTM – fielded in four-cylinder turbo form for the final two seasons and absolutely dominating the opposition during that time.

Rarely before has a racing car in the DTM been as superior as the Class 1 version of the Audi RS 5 DTM. Audi won 28 of 36 races in 2019 and 2020 and the Audi drivers achieved 95 out of 108 possible podiums in the two years of racing. On top of this, they netted 29 pole positions, 28 fastest race laps and all six of the championship titles in the drivers’, manufacturers’ and teams’ classifications. 

From this season, the DTM format changed, with racing contested using GT3 cars under the Audi Sport customer racing banner, and the era of the four-cylinder turbo RS 5 DTM – short as it was – coming to an end.

But any hopes from the opposition that this change in format would also mean a change on the podium have not been realised, with the Audi Sport customer racing program stepping neatly in to  take up the new challenge.

Kelvin van der Linde has won three of the four races so far this year, as well as three pole positions

As the 2021 season reached the halfway point this weekend, the hugely successful Audi R8 LMS GT3 has taken up where the Audi RS 5 DTM left off and comfortably leads the standings. Team ABT Sportsline, with Kelvin van der Linde and Mike Rockenfeller taking care of driving duties, is well out in front of the opposition. With van der Linde’s recent third victory of the season and Team ABT Sportsline’s 70th overall in the DTM, putting both the South African driver and the team on top in their respective categories.

Indeed, with four races completed in 2021, van der Linde has only failed to win once, and over the weekend just past, he not only won the race by a staggering 13.5 seconds, but set both pole position (his third for the season) and fastest race lap. 

His teammate Mike Rockenfeller, although relegated to 21st position after the start of the race as he sought to avoid an accident, still managed to fight his way through the field with a spectacular drive to finish on the podium in third.

So, with the remaining four races of the season left to decide the final placings, ABT Sportsline sits comfortably in first position on the teams’ standings with a 28 point advantage over its nearest rival. In the driver’s standings, Kelvin van der Linde sits 33 points clear of his nearest rival, Mercedes driver Maxi Götz, and Audi Sport continues to dominate DTM. Different season, different race car – but a very familiar result.