Our issue of AutoWeek just showed up via snail mail and we were surprised to see a photo of an Audi A4 DTM racer grace the pages of their motorsport section. That's no dis on AutoWeek as we find their Motorsport section one of the most informative (as you'll see), but DTM is a bit off of the mainstream American racing radar so covering the Deutsche tin tops aren't exactly within the common interest of North American race fans.... but as AutoWeek says, this could all change. Why?
It kind of comes down to BMW. For many years now the DTM has been a two brand series whereby Audi and Mercedes-Benz duke it out every other weekend. It's all good fun to watch, but the limited number of manufacturers have kept its overwhelming popularity largely within the borders of Germany and for that reason BMW hasn't had much interest in joining the party.
Wanting to grow series popularity, AutoWeek is reporting that the DTM has been conferring with the sanctioning bodies of the Japanese Super GT series and the American based Grand Am series to see if some common ground can be met. Apparently Grand Am isn't all that interested in moving away from their Daytona prototypes and the DTM's scheduled evolution of cars in the next two years may be a bit aggressive for Grand Am at least if not Japanese GT. Still, if the three series can come up with a consistent set of requirements it would help manufacturers like Audi, Mercedes and BMW more easily make a business case for racecar development.
Perhaps related, a source at Audi told us at the New York Auto Show this week that they'd been having some interesting conversations with Grand Am as well. On the top level, Audi still isn't so sure about putting their engines in essentially a spec chassis and their ALMS program relies upon Le Mans to help account for costs whereas a Daytona prototype wouldn't allow for much of that savings. However, co-developing a DTM program for use in Grand Am might be enough to make that happen. It all makes for plenty to think about.
Check out the full story from AutoWeek on p. 63 of the April 5th issue, worth picking up as their R8 Spyder review is also inside, along with an excellent Jim Fets photo of the droptop Audi on the cover.
Or read it online at AutoWeek.com after the jump.