Six weeks before the new DTM season opens at the Hockenheimring on April 29 the decision has been made: Audi will be fielding a total of eight vehicles in the competition with BMW and Mercedes-Benz. By signing the 21-year-old Frenchman Adrien Tambay Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich is yet again giving an opportunity to a promising young driver.
Two-time champion Mattias Ekström, Filipe Albuquerque, Miguel Molina, Edoardo Mortara, Mike Rockenfeller - as many as five examples give proof of AUDI AGs successful promotion of young talent in the DTM. Now following in these footsteps is Adrien Tambay, the son of the former Formula 1 racer Patrick Tambay. As Rahel Freys team-mate in Audi Sport Team Abt, he will be driving one of the total of eight new Audi A5 DTM cars.
"We were poised for fielding eight vehicles in the DTM as early as last year and are assuming that no later than in 2013 all manufacturers will be competing with at least eight cars, says Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. "As we had to develop an extremely challenging hybrid car - the Audi R18 e-tron quattro - for the Le Mans 24 Hours and concurrently a completely new DTM vehicle we were initially planning for seven cars in 2012. Im happy that the opportunity to enter eight cars has now materialized. Im convinced that in view of the DTMs high level itll be advantageous to compete with the maximum number of possible cars. The competition will be very close - an additional vehicle also means an additional chance. Plus, an even number makes more sense than an uneven number in terms of logistics and team effort.
By signing Adrien Tambay Audi is purposefully following its strategy of discovering talents and retaining them for the brand early on. "We took several young drivers on board in recent years, some of whom joined us from Volkswagens talent incubator in Formula 3, says Dr. Ullrich. "I feel that today Audi has a very good base in terms of its driver line-up, which also means that the brand is oriented toward the future. This also applies to Adrien (Tambay), who convinced us in tests and is a good fit for the Audi family.
The 21-year-old Frenchman, who was active in formula racing since 2007 and took fourth place in the international Auto GP series, prevailed in a multi-step evaluation of young drivers. The ultimate decision in favor of Tambay was made after a final test on Monday. The DTM rookie will start testing in the Audi A5 DTM for his new race team as early as during the official DTM track tests in Valencia (Spain) next week.
Whether Tambay will already be on the grid at the Hockenheimring season opener is not certain at the moment. "Were currently working at full stretch on duplicating a sufficient number of cars of the A5 DTM model that was homologated on March 1 and to ensure appropriate spare parts supply," explains Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. "This is a major logistical feat and puts maximum demands on the entire squad. Our aim is to field the eighth car as early as possible.