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This is it, TopGear.comers - official sketches of the Audi A5 DTM racer that’ll be competing in next year’s German Touring Car championship. And they’ve been released suspiciously close to BMW’s DTM concept. A spot of thunder theft, perhaps?

It’ll carry over the 460bhp V8 engine and six-speed ‘box used in this year’s A4 DTM, but the body gets a makeover for 2012 regulations - manufacturers are allowed to use bigger rear wings (hence the big rear wing) but have to pare down other aero kit.

See more pics of the Audi A5 DTM

Underneath, Audi’s monkeyed with it to comply with new safety rules that stipulate racers have to withstand a static load four times greater than before. This means it’s got a full carbonfibre monocoque, integrated fuel tank, steel roll cage and super-tough flanks made of carbon and two other materials that sound like emergency constipation relief - Zylon and Rohacell.

To make sure the cars are up to scratch, the racers are fired against a wall using what we can only assume is an enormous catapult (massive, unfounded speculation) to check for T-bone crash resilience. The front and rear ends are also smashed up to test their fortitude.

Predictably, and as per BMW’s pre-release statement, Audi’s saying these sketches ‘merely suggest the looks’ although we’re more inclined to believe the Ingolstadt firm. Firstly, because it’s not gone to the trouble of building a concept, secondly because its racer’s getting some of the styling revisions from the re-sculpted A5 coupe.

We’ll have to wait till the Frankfurt motor show in September to see the grid-ready version of the Audi A5 DTM, but In the meantime, which one do you like best? And d’you think it’ll beat the Beemer?

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