2014 BMW M4 DTM race car
Following Mercedes-Benz’s shock decision to pull out of DTM (German Touring Car Championship) in favor of a factory Formula E team, Audi and BMW said they’re considering pulling out of the sport too. Consequently, DTM could be in serious trouble.
The DTM series consists of Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and BMW. Mercedes-Benz’s exit after the 2018 season will leave just two factory DTM teams, according to Autosport, which also occurred in 2007 when BMW pulled out of DTM only to return five years later. This time is much different: if Audi and BMW exit it’s unclear who would replace those teams.
2013 Audi A5 DTM race car
“We regret the decision of Mercedes-Benz to retire from DTM after the 2018 season,” said Audi motorsport boss Dieter Gass. “The consequences for Audi and the series are not clear at the moment. We now have to analyze the new situation with everybody involved in order to find a solution or possible alternatives to DTM.”
BMW motorsport chief Jens Marquardt echoed Audi’s sentiment. “It is with great regret that we acknowledge Mercedes’ departure after the 2018 DTM season. We now need to evaluate this new situation.”
2016 Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM race car
Should either BMW or Audi decide to also exit DTM, it could pen the final chapter for DTM’s iconic and storied motorsport history. On the opposite side, Mercedes-Benz’s decision to enter Formula E shows how important the motorsport is becoming to automakers. Porsche and Ferrari have both hinted at joining the motorsport, and BMW will join for the 2018 season; Audi already races in Formula E.