Gerhard Berger appointed ITR Chairman as DTM founder steps down


Gerhard Berger - Credit: Jürgern Skarwam/Red Bull Content Pool
Gerhard Berger - Credit: Jürgern Skarwam/Red Bull Content Pool

In a move that has been predicted for some time, former Formula 1 driver and BMW Motorsport Director Gerhard Berger will take over the role of Chairman of ‘Internationalen Tourenwagen Rennen e.V’ (ITR), from DTM founder Hans Werner Aufrecht after more than 30 years.

Berger will work closely with the advisory board of DTM to help set the strategic course of one of the worlds most popular touring car championships.

Talking of his new role, Berger said, “I started my motor-racing career in touring-car racing and always followed DTM with a lot of interest. DTM is a top-class product with independent, powerful regulations, with strong manufacturers, top sponsors, important international partnerships and many fans. This is a good starting point with great potential for the future. 

“The first task I will focus on in the coming weeks is gaining a deeper insight into the details with the support of my colleagues. We will then use this strong basis for creating a joint strategy for the future. While doing so, I consider the further development of our international partnerships – also with regards to new manufacturers –, spectacular racing cars that also command the drivers’ respect as well as a format combining both sport and entertainment as particularly important.”

Berger brings years of experience to the role having competed in 210 Grand Prix for Benetton BMW, Scuderia Ferrari and Honda McLaren from 1984 to 1997 before moving in to management roles. From 1998 to 2003 the held the role of BMW Williams Motorsport Director before becoming co-owner of Scuderia Toro Rosso from 2006 to 2008.

In 2012 Berger was appointed President of the FIA single-seater commission and has been working hard to help restructure the career ladder within single-seaters.

Hans-Werner Aufrecht - Credit: DTM Media
Hans-Werner Aufrecht steps down after more than 30 years in charge of DTM – Credit: DTM Media

ITR Vice-Chairman and CEO of ITR GmbH, Florian Zitzlsperger will assume the operational management of DTM and is happy to have Berger onboard.

“We are glad to have a man as experienced as Gerhard Berger at the helm”, he said. “Due to both his outstanding experience in motor racing and as entrepreneur, he is the ideal successor of Hans Werner Aufrecht, who laid the strong basis for the planned enhancement of DTM. 

“Without Hans Werner Aufrecht, DTM wouldn’t exist. For his passionate and successful work he deserves our maximum appreciation, our respect and our gratitude.”

Hans Werner Aufrecht explained his decision to step down, “I’m proud of what my colleagues and I experienced and achieved in the past three decades. But now it’s time to hand over this unique race series.”

Hans-Jürgen Abt and Walter Mertes also resign from the ITR e.V. board, but will both remain in the sport with, Abt the Team Principal of Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline and Mertes as partner for the series’ sponsorship relations. In addition Merte will be responsible for marketing of the FIA F3 European Championship.