BMW in "vital" customer DTM team talks

BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt says the manufacturer is engaged in "vital" talks to secure a customer team for the 2020 season.

BMW in "vital" customer DTM team talks

Both Audi and BMW agreed to help fill the void left by Mercedes exiting the series at the end of 2018 with customer outfits, and WRT joined the DTM in 2019 to run a pair of Audi RS5 DTMs for Pietro Fittipaldi and Jonathan Aberdein.

BMW was unable to secure its own customer team for 2019 but the pressure was alleviated by R-Motorsport's arrival in the DTM with four Aston Martin Vantages.

While neither Audi or BMW has gone on the record about the costs of the customer car programme, Motorsport.com understand it is in the region of €5-6million per year.

When Motorsport.com asked Marquardt at the Le Mans 24 Hours if BMW was still searching for a customer team, he said: "Absolutely. We were trying to [find a customer] for this year.

"We had quite a few interested people but, at the end of the day, all of the programmes fell through when it came to the final point of getting the finances secured. A lot depends on drivers as well."

It is understood that customer programmes were affected by a lack of available drivers with the required budget.

Marquardt added: "They [drivers] come with packages and it looks like at the end of the day, a lot of teams were chasing the same kind of few drivers.

"It's limited resources in that respect and we're still having vital discussions. We promised [DTM boss Gerhard Berger] and we keep our promises. [If] Someone [is] coming up with a package and a plan, we're absolutely ready to go."

BMW's decision to call time on its World Endurance Championship programme after a single season has freed up the factory MTEK team.

MTEK has previous in the DTM, having played a key part in BMW's return to the series in 2012 and giving debuts to ex-Formula 1 driver Timo Glock and Marco Wittmann.

When Marquardt was asked if MTEK was a potential option for a DTM customer programme during Berlin's Formula E weekend, he said: "With MTEK, we're definitely in discussions now about what we can do with them, and how we can work in the future.

"Is there something we can do together? And obviously, we're open and discussing with them in all directions.

"We haven't managed a customer programme, or a privateer programme, in DTM this year.

"We have to work together on bringing the costs [down] to a level that it is sustainable and funded by a team independently.

"So it's still a challenge. Obviously, that [customer programme] will include discussions with MTEK, but I wouldn't limit it to that [the DTM].

Marquardt added that ongoing discussions over a customer programme were not limited to teams already inside the BMW umbrella, with outside parties understood to be showing interest in the DTM.

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