DTM Is on the Verge of Collapse

The German DTM series is on the verge of collapse after Audi announced its plans to exit the championship at the conclusion of the 2020 season. The upcoming departure follows Mercedes-Benz, another decades-long DTM staple, which withdrew after the 2018 season.

Spread across Audi, BMW, and Mercedes, grids of 20 or so cars have been largely supported by the three factories, leaving Audi and BMW to carry the load since 2019, and provided it stays committed to the championship run by the ITR organization, the task would fall to BMW as the lone brand remaining when the 2021 season arrives.

“We’re hoping that this currently difficult situation will improve soon and that we’ll still be able to contest a few DTM races this year,” said Audi board member Hans-Joachim Rothenpieler. “The fans would deserve this, and so would the ITR, our drivers as well as our teams and partners, who will now have adequate advance notice to reposition themselves for the time after 2020. Successful motorsport is – and will continue to be – an important element of Audi’s DNA.”

Audi dominated the most recent DTM championship run, claiming Drivers’ and Manufacturers’ titles with its 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged RS5 silhouette model. In leaving the DTM, the brand’s focus will move closer to competing with next-generation technology.

“Audi has shaped the DTM and the DTM has shaped Audi. This demonstrates what power lies in motorsport—technologically and emotionally,” said Chairman of the Board of Management Markus Duesmann. “With this energy, we’re going to drive our transformation into a provider of sporty, sustainable electric mobility forward. That’s why we’re also focusing our efforts on the race track and systematically competing for tomorrow’s ‘Vorsprung.’ Formula E offers a very attractive platform for this. To complement it, we’re investigating other progressive motorsport formats for the future.”

The DTM went through a significant philosophy change in recent years where common tubs and other cost-saving adjustments were made to strengthen the championship’s future. Left with one factory to rely on, ITR will be tasked with finding new manufacturers to join its series, or transition the DTM to a non-factory model where privateers fill the field.

Both scenarios pose significant challenges with so little time to react while dealing with the delay of the 2020 DTM season due to the coronavirus.

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