Mercedes-Benz has already revealed its new 2017 C-Class Coupe and AMG C63 hot rod, but there’s one more two-door C-Class model that needs to be replaced. The outgoing C-Class currently represents Mercedes in DTM, Germany’s most popular home-grown racing series, so it’s time for a new racecar as well.
DTM, which stands for Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (German Touring Car Masters), is essentially Germany’s version of NASCAR, only with turns that go both left and right, and a much higher level of technology. When the new season begins in 2016, there will be a new Mercedes racer on the grid.
As these sketches show, the DTM car will have very little in common with a stock C-Class. As in NASCAR, DTM rules require that all cars essentially be the same, regardless of the manufacturer. So while it will wear Mercedes-AMG C63 badging, the racer will be almost identical to rival cars from Audi and BMW.
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But the specifications for those cars read like something that would happen if NASCAR teams had NASA’s budget. DTM cars use a carbon-fiber monocoque chassis, massive carbon brakes, and are festooned with enough aerodynamic aids to make a Le Mans prototype blush. All cars currently have 4.0-liter V8 engines, tuned to around 500 horsepower.
Given how little the racecar has in common with the road car, the old adage “win on Sunday, sell on Monday,” probably doesn’t apply here. Instead, DTM represents just one more arena where the hyper-competitive trio of Audi, BMW, and Mercedes can duke it out. The German manufacturers are just as enthusiastic about DTM as Chevy, Ford, and Toyota are about NASCAR, or Ferrari is about Formula One.
The Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM will debut at the beginning of the 2016 season next year. Its road-going counterpart will debut later in 2016, sometime after the base C-Class Coupe goes on sale.