In the 1990s, one of the premier motorsport series were the DTM races participated in by Opel, Alfa Romeo, Mercedes-Benz and eventually, BMW. At the time, the rules permitted a lot of technical innovation, which Mercedes and AMG wholly embraced in developing their DTM race cars. These technologies included active suspension, all-wheel drive, traction control, active aerodynamics, ABS and moveable ballast. And although engine displacements were limited to 2.5 litres, configurations allowed were any engines that were in production at the time.
Mercedes-Benz’s weapon of choice for the 1994 and 1995 seasons were the W180/C220 C-Klasse sedans. Of course, after the factory race team was done prepping it, it had as much technology in common with a production Mercedes as a slingshot and a Hellfire missile.
Notable components included the M106-derived V6, which idled at 5,000 rpm and spun to a redline of 13,000. At those stratospheric revs, it produced 440 hp. Compared to today’s roadgoing cars, that was an ordinary figure. Compared to F1 cars of the time it was only 15% down in specific output. An innovative mounting system using 4 bolts allowed the engine to be replaced in 15 minutes, which was more or less the service time allotted between races.
Just as innovative and interesting were the movable aerodynamic systems and automatically adjusting anti-sway bars that were adjusted depending on where the car was on the track. A learning lap would be recorded by the onboard telemetry, with an accuracy measured in centimeters. This data would then be used to move flaps in the air dam ducting as well as the anti-sway bars. Moving the flaps closed would effectively widen the front splitter, providing more downforce. As the car rounded the turn, the flaps would gradually open, moving the aerodynamic center of pressure towards the rear for less drag and better traction on exit.
This technological wizardry is 90s era, mind you. If you think that Mercedes nowadays if all about BlueEfficiency, remember that they are top runners in the current DTM, and we can only imagine what innovations the current cars are carrying.