DTM future secured with support from Audi and BMW

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The DTM will continue to exist in 2021 after receiving support from Audi and BMW, but will reposition itself as a privateer-led, GT-based series.

The future of the DTM had been under question ever since Audi announced in April that it would exit the category after the current season, potentially leaving BMW - which itself hadn’t formally committed to 2021 - as the sole manufacturer in the category.

After Audi’s announcement, the DTM had been working to ditch the Class One ruleset it had developed with Japan’s SUPER GT series, with Motorsport.com revealing last month that it was set to adopt beefed-up GT3 cars.

Although the DTM stopped short of explaining the exact cars it will run in 2020, it confirmed that those would be based on grand tourers.

In the new era of the DTM, factory teams would be replaced by private outfits which would be responsible for raising their own budget through sponsorship and other means. Manufacturer support however would still be permitted.

The DTM said the new rules have received support from both Audi and BMW, although they will both leave the parent body ITR eV, handing over the sole responsibility of economic matters of the series to BMS and its chief Gerhard Berger.

The DTM didn’t reveal if Audi and BMW would remain in the series, although Audi has stated in the past that it would be willing to supply its R8 GT3 cars to customers interested in racing in the DTM.

BMW’s next M4-based GT3 car remains under development and it is not expected to make its race debut until at least 2022, leaving little chance of the Munich-manufacturer competing in the category next year.

Some of BMW’s customer teams continue to use the M6 GT3 - based on the now discontinued 6 Series road car - but the boss of its motorsport programme Jens Marquardt said earlier this month that the marque won’t bear the cost of upgrading them to GT3 Plus standards, should any of its customer want to race the outgoing model in the DTM.

Berger had previously stated that he had received expressions of interest from other manufacturers regarding competing in the DTM, but he wanted to reach a deal with Audi and BMW before beginning negotiations with other marques.

“During the past months, we have been discussing various strategic options for the future of the DTM in complex negotiations,” Berger said.

“In the past days, I have had very constructive talks with Audi and BMW. Both manufacturers enable for me to take over the full responsibility for the future of a race series in which, for the moment, primarily GT cars will be running. 

“That Audi and BMW are supporting a scenario for continuation is great news for all the employees and motorsport fans. 

“In the future, no longer the factories, but independent professional privateer teams will be competing for victories on the platform. For me, it was important that both manufacturers commit to this concept, in order for the GT models of these brands to race here as well. I have this commitment. 

“Therefore, I express my sincere thanks to the manufacturers: with their decision, they not only have contributed essentially to securing the jobs at the ITR and the DTM partners, but also enable fans and supporters to continue to enjoy top-level motorsport. 

“Now, I am looking forward to working on a sustainable strategy for the future, together with our strong partners like Sat.1, one that will thrill the fans.”

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Series DTM
Author Rachit Thukral