BMW today confirmed its return to DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters) for the 2012 season, an event that has been widely expected since the company publicly announced its intent in April.
"We began making technical preparations following our declaration of intent in April, and established parameters for a high-performance vehicle concept for deployment in the DTM," said Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director. "The positive decision of the BMW Board of Management means we can now shift up a gear and give the green light for development."
Last seen on the DTM grids in 1994, the company was attracted back to the series by the new rules package being developed by ITR, the series' governing body.
DTM grids are currently made up of Audi and Mercedes teams, BMW's key competitors in the premium automobile marketplace.
"The race track is the perfect place to demonstrate the impressive sporting characteristics of our vehicles against our core competitors in a high-powered environment," commented Klaus Draeger, a member of the BMW AG board. "The DTM is the ideal stage on which to do this."
The company also confirmed the speculation that it would use its famed M3 model as the basis of its competition model to re-enter the series. Audi and Mercedes currently run the A4 DTM and C-class DTM cars in the series.
"The fact that BMW is coming back in the DTM is great news for the fans," agreed Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, the head of Audi Motorsport. "Thus, the three German premium brands will be competing in the world's most important touring car series as of 2012. This is another boost for our DTM series, which is already very popular."
The 2012 DTM rules package, which has not yet been publicly revealed, is reputed use a standardized carbon fibre tub with an increased number of spec components to substantially reduce costs.
The new rules package has attracted the attention of GT-Association, the organizer of the Super GT championship run in Japan, and GT-A has announced its intention to gradually merge regulations with the DTM ones starting in 2012, with the goal of identical technical rules by 2015.
Additionally, the Grand-Am series has previously confirmed discussions with ITR regarding future co-operation. Autosport is now reporting that this co-operation will take the form of a US-based series separate from Grand-Am itself, but running at selected Grand-Am and NASCAR events. Neither ITR nor Grand-Am has confirmed this, however.