Audi aiming to bring ‘customer racing’ into the 2019 DTM

Audi Sport have said they hope to add two cars to bring their entry up to eight cars in 2019, with BMW expected to do the same to guarantee a minimum 16-car grid, with hopes to bring customer programmes back into the championship.

Audi and BMW presently compete with six factory cars run by three teams, with Abt Sportsline, Phoenix Racing and Team Rosberg representing Audi Sport in the championship.

With HWA Mercedes-AMG withdrawing from the championship at the end of this year and switching to Formula E, the grid size is set to be decimated, with BMW and Audi under pressure to up their numbers until a new manufacturer can join the ranks to keep the grid numbers viable.

With an eight-car factory programme financially problematic, Audi hope to find a customer programme to field an additional two RS 5 DTMs next year, with the aspiration to return to a mixed grid of factory teams and customers all competing with the same machinery.

“It’s early days, but I think we need try at least to get two more cars per manufacturer on the grid,” said head of Audi Motorsport Dieter Gass.

“I’m planning to get proper customer cars, which is as well the target of (DTM promoter) Gerhard (Berger), that we get more independent teams involved. If I manage to achieve that, I will not really have an influence on the drivers, so it will be up to the team to select the drivers.

“The big difference however to how customer cars were before in DTM, is there will be no previous years’ cars – all the material will be (latest-spec) factory material.”

Gass added that he hopes that Audi’s continuation in the DTM will soon get the greenlight, with the Ingolstadt-based manufacturer yet to officially confirm its presence next year.

“As long as you have nothing really confirmed and communicated, there’s an element of uncertainty, but I’m really very positive now that we will carry on,” he said.