There are a few golden moments in motorsports, not the least of which being the German Touring Car Championship (DTM) in the late ‘80s. It was one of the most sideways, door-banging series of all time, and we often forget one of its heroes.
The icons of DTM’s glory years remain the Mercedes 190 E 2.3 Cosworth and the car built to take it down, The BMW E30 M3. They remain classics today for being more oversteery and wonderful than nearly any production-based race car since.
This might be why the Audi V8 Quattro DTM car often gets glossed over. It was a big, lumbering car in comparison to its rivals, and it had none of the highlight reel-worthy powerslides that made those other cars famous. It gripped, and it won.
Power was something north of 450 horsepower and 288 ft-lbs of torque. Peak hp was at a wailing 9300 rpm from the 3.6 liter naturally aspirated V8. In 1992, Audi twisted the 90 degree crank into a flat-pane crank so that it might technically still count as a production part and took it up to 460-odd horsepower at 9500 rpm. Crazy.
Weight started at a minimum of 1250kg as UltimateCarPage claims, though that would have varied quite a bit with penalties. The transmission, if you’re curious, was a six speed manual. I’m not sure if the car used the production car’s Quattro system of an electronically-controlled central clutch plate differential and a rear Torsen locking diff or if it had Torsens both mid and rear.
I could listen to this car thunder down the Nürburgring Nordschleife all day.
Here is Hans-Joachim Stuck remembering what made his car such a standout. The Audi V8 was the first DTM car to take back-to-back titles. The car won in 1990 and 1991, even though it sometimes had to cart around a bratwurst pot’s worth of ballast from race to race.
Audi ended up on the wrong side of changed DTM regulations in 1993 (more background on that here on Speedhunters) and they left the series. Also the organizers may have been displeased about that not-very-production-spec flate-pane crank.
Still, what a legend. Don’t you want one now?
Photo Credits: Audi
UPDATE: So I happen to have stumbled across my copy of Auto Motor und Sport’s 30 Years of DTM special edition and have some new, revised information for the car, including all the details on the differentials!
Peak power started out actually as 414 hp (420PS) at 8200 rpm, redlining at 8500.
Torque was 280 ft-lbs (380Nm) at 6000 rpm.
The car had two different choices for a center differential. Audi used a Torsen with a viscous coupling, or a planetary gear set with a viscous coupling (wahlweise Torsen- oder Planetenradsatz und Viscosperre).
The front had a viscous limited slip diff.
The rear had a clutch pack limited slip diff.
The article spends some time, as Stuck did in the clip above, discussing how the car’s AWD kept it from oversteering all over the place. What this article further notes, however, is that catching slides (when they did happen) was even easier in the Audi than in its rivals. The Audis had 22 degrees of steering lock while the BMW E30s had just 13. I may be reading this wrong, but they say it’s no wonder that Stuck never spun the car ever in all 22 of his races.
What a car.