We saw a prototype of Audi’s A5 DTM challenger at the season finale in Hockenheim last year, but this is the real thing – the design which will now be frozen for the rest of the season.

This is one of the new cost-saving measures, introduced to DTM in 2012, in addition to the use of standardised parts across all manufacturers, including the fixed rear spoiler.

With just 8 weeks remaining until the season starts on April 29, Audi has been testing the final version of the new A5 DTM in top-secret conditions, away from the general public (and the roving camera lenses of their competitors).

“More than ever before, even the minutest detail will count this year in the DTM,” says Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “Obviously, you want to keep the things you’ve worked out over the past few months under wraps for as long as possible.”

Whilst the new DTM regulations prescribe more shared parts than in the past and impose restrictions on aerodynamics , the Audi engineers are convinced they have come up with several interesting and innovative solutions that will steal a march on the teams from BMW and Mercedes.

Compared to the prototype car first shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show last September, the team have homologated some key changes – a single-frame radiator grille and air intakes on the sides of the front spoiler, the characteristic LED daytime running lights from the production A5, and 3D-aerodynamics components in the lower third of the vehicle flanks are the most obvious.

The three factory Audi teams are now beginning to prepare their race cars at Audi Sport in Ingolstadt, with four cars expected at the official track tests in Valencia (Spain) from 20 to 22 March.