1990 Audi V8 quattro DTM

1990 Audi V8 quattro DTM

Lurking in the shadows of the poster children of the Group A generation of DTM cars – the Mercedes-Benz 190E W201 and E30 BMW M3 – the Audi V8 quattro DTM is easily forgotten.


That’s because for style and sheer visual weight, at nearly five metres, its donor D11-generation limousine body (complete with wood-veneer dashboard, retained in the race car as per Group A rules) appeared better suited to ferrying politicians than flinging its wing mirrors while piling four-wide into the Karusell at the Nürburging. Still, the V8 quattro triumphed in its debut year, becoming the first car in the DTM to score back-to-back titles, first by Hans Stuck Jr in 1990 and then by teammate Frank Biela the year after.

The ace up its sleeve, of course, was its grip-enhacing all-wheel-drive system. As the Mercedes and BMW drivers spectacularly fought corner exit oversteer, the Audis got the power down earlier and harder. The four-ringed cars’ performance was kept in check by tyrekilling bouts of success ballast.

Interestingly, the centre differential was configurable either as a Torsen or planetary gear set-up – both with a viscous coupling – while the front LSD was solely a viscous unit and the rear LSD with a clutch pack.

In 1990, the Audi’s production-based 3,6-litre V8 produced 309 kW at 8 200 r/min and 380 N.m at 6 000 r/min, although unremitting development and a rule-bending flat-plane crank saw the kilowatt count and redline reach 345 kW and 9 500 r/min by 1992.

Although BMW and Mercedes had no grounds for halting the Audi’s quattro system, they successfully protested its crankshaft in 1992.

It forced Audi to resort to an older-spec engine with a conventional 90-degree crank angle. Doomed to be uncompetitive, it prematurely withdrew from the season to focus on its Class 2 Super Touring car; its global formula kicked off in 1993, including in South Africa.

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