BMW has announced it will returned to the DTM German Touring Car Championship from 2012. This announcement was made during the DTM race weekend at the Hockenheimring.
The series was previously a production-based touring car series but evolved into a formula for expensive silhouette racers that currently only attracts entries from Mercedes-Benz and Audi.
In April this year, BMW announced its intention to race in the DTM in principle for the first time since its departure from the series in 1994.
In recent months, BMW has been working with the DTM umbrella organization ITR eV and the other manufacturers represented in the DTM on issues relating to future technical regulations, and the long-term internationalization of the championship. The positive nature of these discussions means BMW Motorsport can now begin planning its DTM comeback in greater detail.
Dr Klaus Draeger from BMW AG said: "The return to DTM is a fundamental part of restructuring our motorsport activities. With its increased commitment to production car racing, BMW is returning to its roots. The racetrack is the perfect place to demonstrate the sporting characteristics of our vehicles against our core competitors in a high-powered environment. The DTM is the ideal stage on which to do this."
BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen commented: "The entire team at BMW Motorsport is approaching this exciting project with absolute commitment. 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. The positive decision by the BMW Board means we can now shift up a gear and give the green light for development."
Hans Werner Aufrecht, from ITR (DTM commercial rights holder and promoter) said: "We welcome the decision by BMW to enter the DTM from 2012. This is another milestone for the future of our popular racing series, and proves that our efforts over the past few years have paid off. We laid the foundation for this in conjunction with the DMSB and the existing DTM manufacturers, namely Audi and Mercedes-Benz. Thus I would like to heartily thank all parties. I am personally looking forward to again seeing the three premium brands competing against each other on the race track. Our fans have waited a long time for this."
BMW's intention is to use the M3 for DTM competition, since it enjoyed historic DTM success in the past. Eric van de Poele (BE) and Roberto Ravaglia (IT) celebrated two DTM titles with the racing version of the M3 in 1987 and 1989. And before that, Volker Strycek (DE) won the DTM premiere in 1984 with a BMW 635 CSi. In the 2010 season, the current BMW M3 GT2 won the 24-hour race at the Nurburgring (DE).