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German automotive giant BMW is well known for making great road cars and some really great racing cars, however in the past few years, they have stayed away from the German DTM touring car racing series.
Now they are making a comeback, and a massive one at that by announcing that three teams will be running two cars each this year. The car in question will be a special for DTM version of the M3 GT. The three teams running this new racer are Team RBM, Team Schnitzer and Reinhold Motorsport GmbH.
At the announcement, BMW’s director of motorsports Mario Theissen said, “In recent months we have worked very intensely on the DTM project. The agreement with the teams was of paramount importance. We were pleased with the high level of interest and numerous applications and presentations received from a number of professional teams. The concepts presented by BMW Team RBM, BMW Team Schnitzer and Reinhold Motorsport GmbH ultimately convinced us. This is an excellent team line-up for BMW. For us, it is important that all three teams have absolute equal rights. We are looking forward to cooperating over the coming years – and hope to enjoy great success together.”
He added by saying, “While the preparation for this year’s involvement on the endurance racing circuit with the BMW M3 GT is in its final phase, the DTM project has picked up pace over the past few months. In naming the teams, we have taken the next step. As well as developing the car, it is now a matter of assigning tasks and establishing structures and processes. The cooperation between BMW Motorsport and the teams, as well as that between the team bases and the race track, must be well established. Only then will we make a statement regarding the driving line-up.”
The 2011 DTM season starts on May 1st at the Hockenheimring in Germany.
With a field stacked full of Porsches and Audis, it was BMW that took the top spot at the legendary Nürburgring 24 Hour race in the No. 25 BMW M3 GT2. Drivers Jörg Müller, Augusto Farfus, Uwe Alzen and Pedro Lamy managed 154 laps on the Green Hell to claim BMW’s 19th victory at the grueling endurance competition.
“That was a fantastic return for us at the 24-hour race here on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife. This win reminds me of the triumph in Le Mans in 1999. I have never known excitement like I experienced today,” said BMW Director of Motorsport Mario Theissen. “After some of our direct rivals fell by the wayside, our victory was also hanging by a thread. At about 12.00 the winning car developed a gearbox problem, resulting in the loss of one gear. Shortly after 13.00 other gears gradually gave up. It was a masterful performance how Jörg Müller and Uwe Alzen brought the car home in first place in this crucial phase. The tension was enormous for all of us, so the relief was all the greater when the car crossed the finish line. I must say a big thank you to every single member of the team. Everyone worked perfectly together. Thanks also to our loyal fans, who have taken us to their hearts after a five-year break and given us such great support.”
Joining BMW on the podium was the Team Farnbacher Ferrari F430 GTC piloted by Dominik Farnbacher, Allan Simonsen and Leh Keen. And after dominating the first two rows of the grid in qualifying, Audi managed third place in the R8 LMS driven by Dennis Rostek, Luca Ludwig, Marc Bronzel and Markus Winkelhock.
As for the Porsches, the favored Manthey Racing car driven by Timo Bernhard, Marc Lieb, Romain Dumas and Marcel Tiemann retired early when another car spun into them, while the GT3 R Hybrid put on an impressive performance using its fuel economy advantage to pit less often. Unfortunately the hybrid race car broke while in the lead with just under two hours to go.
[Source: BMW Motorsport]
After pulling from the series in 1992, BMW has announced a tentative return to the DTM touring-car series in 2012. BMW is planning to build a new race car based on the current M3 – which would ideally also be able to run in Japan’s Super GT series and the American Grand-Am series.
The BMW race car must meet certain unspecified regulations and if it does so, will see BMW take on German rivals Audi and Mercedes – which are currently the only two manufacturers in the series. Back in 1992, BMW pulled out of the DTM series due to a dispute over its E36 3-Series race car. Before that, BMW won the DTM Championship three times, once in 1987 and once in 1989 with the original E30 3 Series and once back in 1984 with the 635CSi.
BMW board member Dr. Klaus Draeger commented that with the withdrawal from Formula One, BMW has decided to make an increased presence in road racing. “BMW sports and touring cars have achieved success right around the world, and have significantly influenced the brand’s sporting profile right from the word go. For that reason, we see it as a consistent step to return to our roots after bidding farewell to Formula One, and to expand our commitment to this discipline.”
BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen commented that the M3 GT2 (above) currently used in several series (including the American Le Mans Series) will continue to be the focus on the BMW motorsports program next year.
Official release after the jump:
BMW-Sauber team will ride out 2009 season but will not return for 2010.
BMW will not return to Formula One after the 2009 season, the company said yesterday in a press release. After watching the BMW-powered Williams cars flounder, BMW decided to buy a majority stake in the team in 2005, (re-naming it BMW-Sauber), in the hopes that under strict corporate control it could be victorious. That would not be and BMW’s lack of success, particularly this year where it has just 8 points in 10 races and sits eighth overall, was a significant factor in the withdrawal.
The other major factors include the massive costs incurred in running an F1 team as well as what BMW says is a new corporate strategy.
“Resources freed up as a result are to be dedicated to the development of new drive technologies and projects in the field of sustainability,” read the statement.
Team boss Mario Theissen said BMW is now looking for a buyer for its team. With BMW done, it leaves just four manufacturers competing in motorsports’ top tier championship: Ferrari, Renault, Toyota and McLaren/Mercedes. Three other manufacturers are expected to join F1 next year.
BMW’s decision comes several months after Honda pulled from Formula One in December.
[Source: Automotive News]