The big news which touring car racing fans were waiting for this weekend came when BMW unveiled its new M3 DTM concept that will spearhead the marque’s return to the series next year. But don’t think for one minute that returning manufacturers Audi and Mercedes-Benz are about to let their Bavarian rival simply waltz in unchallenged.
Audi, for one, is planning to switch from its current A4 DTM to a new A5-based touring car, previewed in the renderings you see here. Like the stock cars we see racing around American super-speedways, DTM racers are only loosely based on their production counterparts, so the change in body shell – adopting the revised face of the new production A5 – is more aesthetic than anything.
But while the existing DTM drivetrain – consisting of a 460-horsepower V8 and six-speed transmission – is set to carry over largely unchanged, Audi’s new racer (internally dubbed R17) is expected to herald some significant changes over the car it replaces, complying to new lower-cost regulations and side-impact stringencies that will see the fuel cells integrated into the carbon-fiber monocoque.
Rival manufacturer Mercedes-Benz, for its part, has yet to announce any prospective changes to its four-door C-Class touring car, but likely will before the start of next season. In the meantime you can check out the renderings of the A5 DTM in our high-res image gallery and the press release after the jump.