The perfect precursor: All eight Audi factory drivers agreed that the DTM presentation in Wiesbaden was the perfect way to get geared up for the first race in Hockenheim next week. 72,000 fascinated fans flocked to the capital of the state of Hesse to be wowed by racing taxis performing spectacular drifts, lightning-quick pit stops, the chance to collect the drivers’ autographs, and the world of motorsport up close.
New iPhone app: The 2012 update of the Audi Sport iPhone app is now available to download for free from iTunes, in good time for the start of the new DTM season. The app boasts numerous new features, including a ‘live app’ with all the latest reports from the race weekend and a ‘museum’ of the most successful Audi race cars from 1991 to the present day. An Android version of the app is also in the pipeline.
DTM goes to the movies: The German TV channel ARD is promoting the start of the DTM season on the Hockenheimring next weekend with the aid of a clever trailer. In the trailer, all the new DTM vehicles belonging to Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz are brought together at the drive-in movie theater in Gravenbruch, near Frankfurt. There, the drivers Timo Scheider, Martin Tomczyk, and Christian Vietoris watch scenes from the 1992 season – the last year in which Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz all competed against one another in the DTM.
New role: Hans-Joachim Stuck is the new President of the German Motorsport Association (DMSB). The 61-year-old was appointed to be Torsten Johne’s successor at the association’s general assembly on Saturday. The Audi factory driver of many years will put in some demo laps in an Audi V8 quattro – the car in which he won the DTM in 1990 – at the start of the DTM in Hockenheim this coming weekend.
Audi Drive Away: AUDI AG’s Germany Sales division will present 50 new Audi S5 and RS 5 vehicles to dealers during the DTM race at the Hockenheimring. There will also be the highlight of a lap of the racetrack before the DTM race gets underway on Sunday. The new Audi A3 will also be on show outside the Audi Lounge in the paddock.
Huge amount of interest: More than 55,000 tickets have already been sold for the eagerly anticipated first race of the new DTM season on the Hockenheimring. The organizers even expect the grandstands to be completely sold out for the race day. A number of famous faces are expected to attend the DTM season opener, too, with Audi playing host to celebrities such as the German gymnast Philipp Boy, actor Fritz Wepper, and the former professional soccer player Andreas Brehme.
In the heart of Munich: The DTM is holding a press conference on Tuesday. Audi will be represented at the meeting with media reps, which is scheduled to start at 10:30 in Munich’s Olympiapark, by Timo Scheider.
A family affair: André Lotterer competed in a modern classics race hosted by the Belgian Racing Automobile Vintage Organization (BRAVO) on Sunday and finished second. The Audi factory driver dove into the Audi brand’s history and his own family’s history, too, in Belgium. The yellow and red Audi Nothelle-Kamei Coupé dates back to 1981, André Lotterer’s year of birth, and was restored in Belgium by Johan Aerts. The Group 2 race car is powered by a 176 kW (240 hp) five-cylinder engine motor first assembled by Henri Lotterer, André’s father, 31 years ago.
Lead defended: Stéphane Ortelli and Laurens Vanthoor remain at the top of the leaderboard in the FIA GT1 World Championship, racing in the WRT team’s Audi R8 LMS ultra. Sixth place in the second race in Zolder, which was marked by rain, was enough for the duo to stay ten points ahead of their closest contenders, Mike Parisy and Matt Halliday. In the team standings, the WRT team now has a lead of 17 points.
Successful start to the season: Wagner and Fabio Ebrahim got off to a good start in the Brazilian GT Championship, coming second in their Audi R8 LMS in the first race at Santa Cruz.
Last week, Audi signed up Marc Gené as a reserve driver, after Timo Bernhard suffered a spinal injury in March as a result of an accident during testing in Sebring. Bernhard is now back in Germany and reports that he is making a good recovery.
A word from … Timo Bernhard
Following the accident which happened through no fault of your own during testing at Sebring, you are now back in Germany and are on the road to recovery. How are you doing?
I’m not feeling any pain anymore, which is great. There was no need for any further treatment for my spinal injury, but I’m wearing a neck brace to help the healing process along. I came back to Germany on Easter Monday and am making good progress.
What sort of progress?
I started a rehabilitation program in the USA, and I am continuing with that. My personal trainer is assisting me at the Olympic training center at the state sports school in Saarbrucken. I am rigorously sticking to my training program and feel very good about that, and I know that I will be 100 percent fit again at the end of the process.
What will you be doing in the next few weeks?
There is a chance that I will b back behind the wheel in Le Mans. That’s what we are all currently working toward. But I’m not yet ready to compete in motorsport. Head of Audi Motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, has signed up a highly experienced backup driver, Marc Gené, to step in for me in the second WEC race in Spa. The race is on May 5, so I’ll have to watch that one on the TV at home.