BMW is gearing up to race in the German-based DTM touring car championship in 2012, almost 20 years after it quit the series.
The German manufacturer withdrew from the original DTM at the end of the 1992 season over a rules wrangle concerning its forthcoming E46-shape M3. Now, it has announced that it has come to a “positive policy decision regarding the company’s involvement” in the DTM.
BMW’s statement explained that “for this to happen, certain basic requirements must be met”. The exact nature of these requirements has not been clarified, but BMW Motorsport boss Mario Theissen has repeatedly stated that his company would only be interested in joining the DTM if the car it develops for the German series can be raced elsewhere in the world. This demand is linked to the organisers of the DTM, the ITR, seeking alliances with both the Japanese-based Super GT series and Grand-Am in the US.
BMW is already working on a DTM car, based on the latest M3, built to the new regulations that are likely to come into force for next season. Its statement said it was making “appropriate preparations on the technical side” and that a final decision on its participation in the series “is expected during the year”.
BMW twice won the DTM with the original E30-shape M3. Eric van de Poele triumphed in 1987 with the Zakspeed team and Roberto Ravaglia won in ’89 driving for Schnitzer Motorsport (above). Volker Strycek also won the first DTM title with a 635CSi in ’84.